According to a recently released study, tests known as a food challenge can help determine if a person might have outgrown their allergies. Namely, it helps determine if they became tolerant to food that used to trigger an allergic reaction.
- 3.6 percent of the people living in the United States are reportedly allergic or have a food intolerance.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers this to a growing public health and food safety problem.
- There is presently no exact cure for food allergies.
- The reactions can sometimes be life-threatening.
- Nuts, dairy products, and crustacean shellfish and fish account for 90 percent of all reported severe allergic reactions in the U.S.
Food Challenge to Help Safely Determine if Kids Outgrew Allergies
Reports point out that some 70 to 80 percent of the children with an egg allergy will eventually outgrow this. The percentage is significantly lower, at only around 20 percent, in the case of kids with a peanut allergy.
A recently released study monitored the number of people that actually found out that they had outgrown their allergies. The researchers analyzed the results of around 6,300 food challenges. These were undertaken by both children and adults that were suspected to have become tolerant to the foods that used to cause an allergic reaction.
The food challenge test is conducted under medical surveillance. It basically has the individual consume small amounts of the products that caused an allergic reaction in them.
“We found that 14 percent of the patients challenged had mild or moderate allergic reactions. If the symptoms were treated with just Benadryl or another antihistamine, they were considered mild or moderate,” explains Carla Davis.
She is an allergist and study lead and also the director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Food Allergy Program. According to Davis, only two percent of those tested with a food challenge had a severe allergic reaction and required an epinephrine treatment.
The remaining patients, 86 percent, were considered to have a low-risk and were proven to not react to the food allergens. A research paper is available in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Researchers not involved with the study consider the results “encouraging”. They also point out the importance of accurately diagnosing food allergies, and not confusing them with intolerances.
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