Peanut allergy is thought to be one of the most common food allergies in young children - and if your...
Peanut allergy is thought to be one of the most common food allergies in young children - and if your child is really allergic, peanut allergy can be dangerous and in extreme cases, even fatal. The biggest downside of peanut allergy is that is appears to be a lifelong issue unlike other food allergies seen in young children (i.e. milk and eggs) which kids tend to outgrow by the time they reach elementary school. Another problem of peanut allergy is that it's a confusing allergy. Cases seem to be on the rise, no one is sure why some kids develop an allergy vs. not, and recent news reports that peanut allergy may be avoided with exposure, which goes against common thinking. Luckily, the peanut allergy issues may have just gotten a little clearer. Clinicians and scientists at UHSM (University Hospital South Manchester), the University of Manchester, and Phadia AB in Uppsala, Sweden have developed a new and significantly more accurate blood test for peanut allergy, which predicts whether an allergic reaction to peanuts will develop with more than 95% certainty. Almost 1,000 eight year olds, who were recruited before they were born and have been followed up at regular intervals since birth, were studied in regards to peanut allergy. During the study, children with suspected peanut allergy were challenged with peanuts in a safe, controlled environment. After studying these kids the findings confirm that the majority of children with positive skin or blood tests to peanut do not have clinical peanut allergy, and researchers came up with the new blood test which does accurately identify those children at real risk. In the past, research shows that there is a huge false positive rate for current standard blood or skin tests for sensitivity to peanuts. Although approximately 1 in 10 children had positive skin or blood test to peanut, on the basis of the oral peanut challenge, only 1 in 50 had peanut allergy. Good news since peanuts are everywhere. According to researchers involved in the study, "Patients must be able to receive expert help to determine real allergy to peanuts. New diagnostic tests combined with expert advice on treatment will be a major step forward in management of patients with peanut allergy". Hopefully this is a test that will available to more kids eventually so that parents and health care providers can plan realistic peanut allergy management. *Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology January 2010 edition

Tags: allergy baby allergy food allergy nut allergy peanut allergy

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