NIH Guidelines for Food Allergies Released – A little research

In a blog posted on December 6, 2010 at 09:25AM on the Living Without website, Christine Boyd gives an excellent summary of the new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases guidelines for defining, diagnosing and treating food allergies. This will be a brief summary of her findings. You can find the entire blog entry here.

  • Being sensitive is not the same as a food allergy.
  • There has been a serious increase in food allergies over the last 10 to 20 years. “Most children will outgrow milk, egg, soy and wheat allergies. Tree nut and peanut allergy are often life-long”
  • “Epinephrine is the first-line treatment in all cases of anaphylaxis.”
  • “Those with a history of severe egg allergy should avoid egg-based vaccinations, like flu vaccine.”
  • Avoid foods with “this product may contain trace amounts of allergen” if you are allergic to the specific item.
  • “Food allergies are associated with severe asthma.”
  • Immunotherapy (oral and sublingual) to treat food allergy is in development but has not been well-tested.
  • “Avoiding potentially allergic foods during pregnancy or breastfeeding isn’t necessary for food allergy prevention. However, exclusive breast-feeding in the first 4 to 6 months of life is recommended.”

This is interested stuff so I did a little more research. I visited the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to see what they had to say on the subject.

This comes directly from their site. The link to this information can be found here. This is a summary of important points.

Digging Deeper—What’s in the Guidelines for You?

  • Definitions The guidelines define food, food allergy, food allergens, and specific allergic conditions associated with food. The guidelines also provide information to enable your doctor to distinguish food allergy from food intolerance (read about the difference between these two conditions).
  • Common food allergens In the United States, the most common food allergens are egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish, fish, and soy.
  • How food allergy develops Food allergy is more common in children than in adults. Most children will outgrow allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat. Allergies to peanut or tree nuts are often lifelong. A food allergy that starts in adulthood, such as an allergy to shellfish, also tends to be lifelong.Food allergy often co-exists with other diseases, such as asthma, eczema (atopic dermatitis), and eosinophilic esophagitis. If your family has a history of allergy and you have eczema, then you are at greater risk for having food allergy than someone who does not have these risk factors. Because the severity of an allergic reaction to food is based on many factors, the severity of any future reaction cannot be accurately predicted by the severity of a past reaction.

Ways to manage your food allergy after a diagnosis

  • Is there a cure for food allergy? Not yet. The only way to prevent a reaction to a food is to avoid the allergenic food. The guidelines suggest that you read food labels carefully. If you have a child with food allergy, the guidelines suggest seeking nutritional counseling. Remember, because some allergies can be outgrown, you should be re-tested periodically to see whether you are still allergic.

So far, all of this is interesting but there is nothing radically new or earth shattering. Kind of sounds to me like they need to seem like there are doing something about it, but really nothing much has changed since last year.

Summary: Be smart, be careful, be healthy, read labels. NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. Give me something new please.


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