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Food Allergies: Will New Rules Change the Game?

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Guest blogger Kate Tuttle: It's likely that a child in your family, or a child your child goes to school with, has been diagnosed with a food allergy. More than four percent of kids have received that diagnosis -- a steep increase over a decade ago. But until now, many parents weren't certain just what to believe about their child's allergies, since both skin and blood tests are notorious for yielding false positives. Just to be on the safe side, a lot of families are eliminating foods that they really could eat safely.

child eating
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some kids who may be allergic to one or two foods are restricted from eating dozens of things, just because their parents would rather avoid any risk at all. Now, a new set of guidelines released this week by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends that doctors and families should seek to nail down a firm diagnosis, using a combination of testing and oral challenges (that's when a patient eats a suspected allergen in a safe clinical setting).

In so doing, the guideline authors suggest, it's likely that the overall number of food-allergy diagnoses will decrease -- and a lot of kids and parents will find that their culinary palette has expanded. Whatever allergies you have in your family, now's a good time to call your doctor and see whether it's time to reassess the diagnosis in light of the new guidelines.

Our son had a bad reaction to a walnut, and subsequent blood tests revealed reactions to pecans as well. I know that I'm looking forward to speaking with his allergist about whether we can pinpoint the actual dangers and maybe lessen everyone's anxiety around nuts in general.

Does your child have a food allergy? How was it diagnosed? Do the new guidelines make sense to you?

next: Nine Ways to Beat Holiday Stress
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kristen December 17, 2010, 6:38 AM

I find that this will be difficult to accomplish because most physicians/allergist will be unwilling to do food challenge tests in an office setting and doing it in a hospital will obviously be more expensive……insurance companies don’t like things that are more expensive.
Also a lot of parents take out other foods because even though their may not be an allergy they could have a sensitivity that the medical community does not recognize. Our daughter is severely allergic to peanuts but she also has asthma, which is made MUCH worse by dairy products, so in turn we have taken out dairy. We also limit her intake of high histamine foods(bananas, pineapple, ect…) because her body is already on overdrive(over production of histamine) due to environmental allergies that can’t be clearly pinpointed. I’m sure if we went to the top allergist in the US we could get this figured out but that is just not possible.

WomderMom December 17, 2010, 6:55 AM

There are different types of “allergic” reactions to different things. Some children cannot eat casein, food coloring, etc. It may not be an anaphalactic reaction, but it is still an adverse physiological reaction. I’d love to see those things addressed (or just eliminate them from foods altogether!), so childcare centers, etc., don’t just think parents are “crazy” or just ignore the dietary restrictions.

Food allergies are serious business, but people should respect other’s dietary restrictions, for whatever reason. I do think people should know exactly what they are allergic to because the way foods are prepared or genetically altered (hybrid foods) are constantly changing. Ultimately, knowledge is power, but food restrictions should be respected. Period.

I’m so tired of people questioning my son’s dietary restrictions, or just ignoring them altogether. Then my son suffers because others don’t understand - he suffers from other’s ignorance.

Mom December 17, 2010, 6:59 AM

I don’t think this is a good idea to promote. My son is older, but as a teen, he is challenging some foods he is allergic to. I will not be trying to pinpoint the allergies any further because it sounds too dangerous and he is doing that (unfortunately) on his own anyway. I have seen reactions to the foods that were indicated by blood tests, so I am comfortable with the diganosis.

???? December 17, 2010, 7:50 AM

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Deepak December 17, 2010, 1:57 PM

Nice pic

Anonymous December 17, 2010, 11:51 PM

But if I know exactly what my child is allergic to, how can I go on the ‘my child is special’ attention seeking parade with teachers, carers, and others that I enjoy so much?

???? December 18, 2010, 12:37 PM

eat peanut butter

richard December 20, 2010, 11:13 AM

test 2

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 4:56 PM

Good post. Nice and fun reading. There is a observation to submit about funny shirts.

hearing loss research February 27, 2011, 2:19 AM

You made some decent points there. I did a search on the issue and found most people will go along with with your website.

Peter March 1, 2011, 11:22 AM

Has anyone heard of developing allergies? I use to not be allergic to eating shrimp when I was younger. Now have a bad hive reaction when I do now.

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:39 AM

I’m glad, that i found your website, there are a couple of interesting articles

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