Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Guidelines on Handling Food Allergies

This past December the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) released new guidelines to help health care professionals who treat patients with food allergies. Today NPR interviewed Dr. Fenton with the NIAID, Dr. Sharma with the Children's National Medical Center, and Julia Bradsher with the Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), you can hear the interview here.

I have been dealing with recurrent sinus infections and recently narrowed it down to allergies. Since I find it hard to avoid pollen, dust or grasses, my health care provider suggested we look at food allergies. The more triggers I can avoid, the less likely I am to develop yet another sinus infection. She sent my blood in for the full food panel IgE antibody test. The results indicated I am allergic to dairy, eggs, almonds, garlic, bananas, crab and oysters. I am not surprised about dairy and in fact since I have cut out dairy, I am not congested anymore, I have more energy and no body odor when sweating (that is the best part!). But I was surprised to find eggs on the list, I have never noticed a reaction after eating eggs.

The new guidelines caution doctors on using indiscriminate blood panels results to determine food allergy. Apparently, your body can develop an IgE antibody to a certain food although you may not be allergic to it. Dr. Sharma and Dr. Fenton both recommend determining food allergies by how your body reacts when you eat that food. So I plan to reintroduce eggs and see what happens, you may see me at St. Joe's with an EpiPen in my neck or better yet, at The Daisy Cafe eating their Twin Sisters egg dish with gusto!

Other interesting facts I learned from the interview:
  • 5% of Americans have a food allergy, yet 50% of Americans have developed IgE antibodies to a food;
  • 90% of all food allergies are from the "Top 8":  milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish;
  • Your body can be allergic to a certain protein such as latex, but also react to other proteins similar to the protein you are allergic to; a latex allergy can trigger responses from exposure to bananas, cantaloupe and kiwis;
  • check out FAAN to learn how to advocate for yourself regarding food allergies.

1 comment:

rachel said...

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