So how much can we hear about food allergy? As unfortunate as it is to have a severe food allergy, what bothers patients most is lack of reliable information about their condition and the lack of concern about a potentially fatal reaction. Just look on Facebook to find hundreds of stories about the tragedy of food allergy or anaphylaxis. Here’s an example of the anxiety that results from a child with food allergy—>
If you’re going to treat food allergy, you have to know it’s there–duh. But not so fast….most kids never get the appropriate food challenges to make the diagnosis. Consider this:
- Oral food challenges are the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies in children, but only a small fraction of kids in the United States are getting them.
- At the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting Dr. Gupta reported from her study that oral food challenge was done in just 15.6% of children that really needed the test.
- As a result, it is likely that childhood food allergy is seriously underdiagnosed
“Food allergy guidelines just came out in March of this year from the National Institutes of Health NIAID [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] stating that oral food challenge is the proper test to diagnose food allergy, along with medical history and positive skin and blood testing,” Dr. Gupta said.
In Dr Gupta’s study, only 47% had a skin test and 40% had a blood test for food allergy.
“Overall, what this tells us is that food allergy is not being diagnosed optimally and oral food challenges are definitely not being done enough,” she said.
What are your thoughts about food allergy? Have any readers experienced a “misdiagnosis” of food allergy? I’d love to hear from you!