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New Food Allergy Guidelines Out

Comprehensive Guidelines Aim to Help Doctors Diagnose, Treat Food Allergies

Food Allergy Guidelines: Diagnosis continued...

The experts recommend skin puncture tests, in which a small amount of the extract of a suspected food in placed on the skin, then the skin is punctured through the droplet, to help identify possible troublesome foods but not to make a diagnosis based on it alone.

It also recommends against the routine use of measuring total blood IgE, the antibody formed in reaction to an allergen.

It recommends allergen-specific IgE blood testing but cautions that the test results alone are not enough to make a diagnosis.

Food elimination diets -- taking away one or a few specific foods to see if the reaction disappears -- may help.

Oral food challenges -- exposing the person to the suspected food under medical supervision -- are thought to be helpful.

If exposure to a certain food triggers symptoms, the doctor should then see if that finding matches with lab tests and medical history.

Food Allergy Guidelines: Management

Avoidance is best, the experts agree. They write: "There are nomedications currently recommended by the EP [expert panel] to prevent IgE-mediated food-induced allergic reactions from occurring in an individual with existing food allergies."

When food allergies trigger anaphylaxis, the experts recommend epinephrine injections first.

Food Allergy Guidelines: What About Prevention?

While some pregnant women may hope restricting their diets during pregnancy or during breastfeeding may help their children avoid allergies, the experts disagree and don't recommend this.

They don't recommend soy formula as a strategy for preventing the development of allergies, either.

Outgrowing Food Allergies

A child with food allergies may outgrow them, Sampson said.

It depends on the food, partially. “If their child is allergic to egg, for example, chances are very good that children will outgrow it,” he said.  “We know that about 80% will.” According to the guidelines, most children will eventually also tolerate milk, soy, and wheat.

Outgrowing tree nut and peanut allergies is much less common.


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