Diagnosis & Treatment Guidelines for Food Allergies Released
About one in 20 children and about one in 25 adults has a food allergy, but there hasn't been a comprehensive set of clinical practice guidelines for food allergies available to doctors to aid sufferers—until now.
The new food allergy guidelines, published by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), will help doctors diagnose and treat food allergies in their patients. These guidelines are the first set of uniform clinical recommendations for food allergies ever available to health professionals.
The NIAID led the development of the food allergy guidelines, and over 30 different professional organizations, federal agencies and patient advocacy groups contributed to the effort. Though the guidelines are intended for use by physicians, many people with food allergies will also be interested in the recommendations.
The guidelines address such issues as:
- Can a person outgrow their food allergies? (Yes, in some cases, like with some egg, milk, soy and wheat allergies.)
- Can any medicines prevent severe food allergic reactions? (No, though epinephrine can help to treat anaphylaxis.)
- Must you eat a certain food to develop an allergy to it? (No, exposure can also come from skin contact or inhalation or from exposure in the womb prior to birth.)
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), these guidelines are a much-needed resource for doctors. Make sure your doctor has a copy. "The Guidelines represent a critical scientific analysis of the medical literature on food allergy and provide physicians and other health professionals with the most recent evidence-based information and recommendations on diagnosing and managing food allergies," said Hugh A. Sampson, MD, in an AAAAI news release.
If you believe that you or a family member might have a food allergy, you should consult with an allergist or an immunologist, according to the AAAAI. These doctors are best able to provide an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and educational information to help patients manage their condition.
Sources: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI); and Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Summary of the NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel Report