Monday, March 15, 2010

Rant: Misdiagnosed Food Allergies

It was always puzzling to me that so many children nowadays seem to have food allergies. Yet it seems the high numbers may not be accurate. A significant number of children may have been misdiagnosed. It seems parents might want to re-test their children, to ascertain whether they actually have food allergies or not.

A fascinating article is "Is your child's food allergy real?" by Michele Munz of the STLToday (2/16/10). It is well worth reading and certainly opened my eyes to the issue.

Dr. Leonard Bacharier, director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. believes food allergies are often misdiagnosed. A key problem is that too many parents only rely on blood and skin tests, and such tests are not reliable. Just because such tests indicate the presence of antibodies does not mean that person will experience symptoms. A recent study of 79 children who had tested positive in blood and skin tests showed that 66 actually were not allergic!

A food challenge may help determine whether a person is actually allergic or not. But they are labor-intensive, time-consuming and there might be a lengthy wait at the hospital to obtain one. In a typical food challenge, a patient receives 11 doses of food in increasing amounts every 15 minutes. There is a new blood test which may offer a solution too. Allegedly, it can predict a food allergy with a 95% certainty, though it has not yet been approved by the FDA.

Parents, have your children retested! Don't rely only on blood or skin tests to determine whether your child is allergic or not. Your child may actually be able to eat many of the items they are currently avoiding. Medical tests are not always perfect and a second opinion, or additional may be warranted.

1 comment:

CChamberlain said...

but if it's not allergies... why would the child have had a reaction/been sick?