- One of the
forms of allergy is food allergy.
- Family history
is often present in cases of childhood allergy.
- Many parents of
children with food allergy report that they too suffer from food allergy.
- Only 28 percent
of parents who reported food allergy actually tested positive.
Many moms and dads of kids with food allergy
think they may have food allergy too. However, only 28 percent of such parents actually tested positive for allergy,
indicates a recent study undertaken by the American College of Allergy, Asthma
and Immunology (ACAAI).
Details of the Study
kids with food allergies
were enlisted from
local hospitals and community settings. In order for the parents to
participate, families required to have a child with known food allergy. While
replying to the questionnaire, 13.7
percent of parents stated to be suffering from a food allergy. However, amongst
that group, only 28 percent actually tested positive to the food they reported
being allergic to.
‘Moms and dads of food allergic kids also self-report food allergy, but only about a quarter actually test positive.’
"Previous studies have focused on the general
adult population," said allergist Rachel Robison, MD, study co-lead author.
"While we found positive test results were more common in parents of kids with
food allergies, the actual levels in the blood for the foods were quite low.
Low positives in allergy testing are more likely to be false positives. This points to the importance of proper testing for any kind of
, but particularly food allergies.
Interestingly, we also found that of the parents who reported no food allergy,
14 percent had positive tests to peanut and sesame, for example."
Possible Reasons for
As pointed out earlier, only 28 percent of
the parents who self-reported allergy actually tested positive. According to
one of the study authors, "This tells us that either people haven't been tested and are assuming an
allergy from a previous reaction to a food, or they haven't been tested
properly and may not truly have an allergy. Allergy testing, including blood
and skin prick testing, is not always reliable; there are a lot of false
How to Overcome
False Positives in Allergy Testing
According to ACAAI, skin tests only detect
sensitization. However, being sensitized to a particular protein doesn't
indicate one is actually allergic. Also a blood test alone for allergy may not
prove to be accurate. Blood and skin testing cannot accurately predict food
allergy in one who has never ingested that food earlier.
Only oral food
challenges are the gold standard for allergy testing and are deemed most
accurate for the diagnosis of food allergy
It is preferable to consult allergy
specialists, who are experienced and professionally trained to administer allergic
tests and to diagnose allergies.
About Food Allergy
Childhood allergies are becoming increasingly
common worldwide. Almost one in 12 children is
diagnosed with a food allergy in the
is a condition, where the immune system
reacts and mounts an immune response to seemingly harmless food proteins. The
reaction involves the release of chemicals such as histamine, responsible for
many of the features of allergy.
Most forms of food allergy begin in infancy and early childhood.
Common allergens include proteins in milk,
egg, nuts, soy, wheat and shellfish
. Some allergies are outgrown in
childhood, whilst others may continue into adulthood.
The symptoms begin within a few minutes or
within a couple of hours of consuming the food and can vary from mild to
severe. They include skin, respiratory
and gut symptoms such
- Swelling of the lips and throat, eyes and face
- Itchy rash on lips, tongue
- Sneezing, runny nose and watering of eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
In a severe
allergic reaction or anaphylaxis
one may have
- Severe tightness of chest and wheezing
- Laryngeal edema obstructing the airways
- Dizziness and confusion
- Circulatory collapse, hypotension, and shock
Unless prompt treatment and resuscitative
measures are instituted, it may be lethal. Living
With Food Allergy
Persons suffering from a food allergy need to follow certain measures
to avoid or reduce allergic reactions. These include
- Avoiding the offending food
- Reading food labels carefully to know the ingredients
- Informing close friends and relatives about the food allergy
- Keeping the school authorities in the loop in case of childhood
- Carrying an auto-injector loaded with adrenaline at all times to be
ready for any emergency.
With above precautions in place, and proper
food choices, food allergy can be kept down to manageable levels.
- Food Allergy in Babies and Children - (https://www.allergyuk.org/childhood-food-allergy/food-allergy-in-babies-and-children)