Americans Self-Diagnosing Food Allergies

A recent UPI story reported that a survey conducted among California parents showed that many are diagnosing food allergies in their children and eliminating nutritious foods, like milk, without consulting a physician.

Studies have shown that 20-30% of Americans think they have a food allergy when the actual number with documented food allergies is actually about 2% or 2 in 100.

Eliminating foods without consulting with an allergist first can lead to unnecessary limitations on quality of life and nutrition, specially in children. Some people think that tiredness, hyperactivity, and attention deficit disorder are symptoms of food allergy when they are not. Check out the  Food Allergy tips from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology for the signs and symptoms as well as Food Allergy Myths associated with food allergies.

It is also important to consult with an allergist- immunologist or someone experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies who can provide you with accepted, science based diagnostic tests and treatment options. Hair and nail analysis or elevated IgG levels, which are being promoted by some “allergy’ laboratories are not scientifically recognized tests for diagnosing food allergies.

Food Allergy is a potentially life threatening problem. If you think you or child may have a food allergy, talk to your doctor.

Citation:Chapman JA, Bernstein IL, Lee RE, Oppenheimer J, et al. Food Allergy: A Practice Parameter. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2006;96,No3(suppl):S1-S68.

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