Good news for food allergy sufferers
When you have a severe allergic reaction to a specific food, logic would tell you to stay away from the offending food. However, a recent announcement from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) dispels that notion and suggests that avoiding the food entirely may not be necessary.
Dr. Sami Bahna, who spoke at ACCAI’s annual meeting in late October, explained that different parts of food may be the cause for allergic reactions. “For example, someone with an egg allergy may be able to tolerate egg yolk but not the whites. And someone with a fruit allergy may be allergic to the seeds but not the pulp,” said Bahna, an allergist and ACAAI president.
In addition to explaining that certain parts of food may be safe to eat for some food allergy sufferers, Dr. Bahna also said some substitutes can be eaten as well.
“Just because someone is allergic to cow’s milk, doesn’t mean they are allergic to milk from all other animals,” said Dr. Bahna. “Some sufferers might have to avoid several foods, which can be difficult and cause malnutrition. But there are substitutes that can be eaten without any side effects.”
Dr. Baha did caution that this is not a “one-size-fits-all approach.” Since allergy affects everyone differently, “if you have a food allergy, evaluation by a board-certified allergist can identify the exact foods that you should avoid and the substitute foods that you can safely eat,” he said.
He recommended allergy skin testing or blood tests as good screening measures for food allergy. Oral food tests are another way to confirm suspected food allergies. During this test, patients eat tiny amounts of the potential allergy-causing food in increasing doses while being closely supervised by an allergist.
No cure currently exists for food allergies, however, some who suffer from allergies may outgrow them over time.
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