Know Your Allergies

In # 4: Food allergens in the news by Elizabeth1 Comment

This article described that the best way to find out about an allergy is through an oral food challenge. An oral food challenge is where the person is given a small dose of food by mouth while being supervised by a board of certified allergist. It is said to be the “golden standard” for determining if someone is allergic to a food.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), which is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, examined the results of 6,327 oral food challenge studies that were conducted at five food allergy centers around the US. They determined that only 2% of people had severe reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, and only 16% of people had reactions at all. The 16% of people that had minor reactions only suffered on one part of their body such as hives on their skin.

I personally think that an oral food challenge is very important. If someone thinks they are allergic to something but isn’t for sure then they should do the challenge with supervision. I have had friends that think they are allergic to a food but aren’t quite sure and they end up cutting that certain food out of their diet. A few weeks later they will complain of similar symptoms with another food item and will cut that food out too. It would be better for them to participate in an oral food challenge so they can figure out what food is giving them these symptoms so they can be certain when they cut something out of their diet.

The oral food challenge does sound unsafe at first but you are only given a small dose of the food and you are being supervised by certified allergist. I personally think this is safer than cutting important foods out of your diet without knowing for sure that those are the foods giving you trouble. You could be cutting out an important source of your protein due to having symptoms from a complete opposite food.

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  1. This is a very interesting article! My roommate had been vegetarian for about 3 years because she was convinced that she was allergic to meat. Recently, she decided to work meat back into her diet because she was feeling so weak from lack of protein. She hasn’t really noticed any of the symptoms that she attributed to her “meat allergy” since beginning to eat meat again, so she had suffered unnecessarily for years. An oral food challenge could’ve avoided all of these issues!

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