According to new research reported in an article in the New York Times today, about 30% of Americans believe that they have a food allergy, when in reality "the true incidence of food allergies is only about 8% for children and less than 5% for adults."
This is not only interesting because of the public health implications, but also because my husband and I have so many friends with children that have a food allergy (or more than one).
"People who receive a diagnosis after one of the two tests most often used -- pricking the skin and injecting a tiny amount of the suspect food and looking in blood for IgE antibodies... -- have less than a 50% chance of actually having a food allergy, the investigators found."
A doctor stated in the article that these common tests are "not sufficient" to determine if someone really has a food allergy. "Most doctors are reluctant to use food challenges," (I wonder why - this is when someone consumes the food and waits to see if it elicits a response, or not.)
The NIAID is currently working on initiating an "expert panel" that will "provide guidelines defining food allergies and giving criteria to diagnose and manage patients." (Hopefully this will be ready by July 2010.)
Interesting! Hopefully this information will help someone out there!