An Increase in Misdiagnosed Food Allergies?

Posted 2.10.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Last week, I read an interesting article in the New York Times on food allergies. Specifically, the article, titled “Telling Food Allergies From False Alarms,” was about misdiagnosed food allergies and how because of this many people are avoiding foods they think they are allergic to. Everyone knows that food allergies are on the rise, however, did you know that the misdiagnoses of many allergies are on the rise too?

Even though this is very surprising, it shouldn’t mitigate the seriousness of a food allergy. According to the article, the misdiagnoses culprit is the “widespread use of simple blood tests for antibodies that could signal a reaction to food.” Parents have chosen this type of test over the uncomfortable and often time-consuming skin tests and food challenge tests. Unfortunately, while blood tests can help doctors identify foods that are potentially harmful to a child, they aren’t always reliable.

The article also said that if a child avoids too many foods, it might put them at risk for malnutrition in extreme cases. This is something that, with the proper supplements or formulas, can be avoided. For instance, a child with a milk allergy can consume EO28 Splash, a nutritionally complete, hypoallergenic drink, to ensure that he gets the needed nutrients.

For the entire article, click here.

If your child has tested positive for severe allergies, get advice from an experienced allergist who can perform medically supervised food challenge testing and confirm the allergy. And have your child re-tested every once in awhile — it can’t hurt, and who knows, you might be surprised with the results!

- Nita

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.