Study shows oral food challenges are safe for diagnosing food allergies

September 07, 2017

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (September 7, 2017 - 12:01 am ET) - The best way to find out if someone has a food allergy is through an oral food challenge (OFC) where the person is given a very small dose of the food by mouth under the supervision of a board-certified allergist to test for a severe reaction. A new study shows that OFCs are extremely safe, with very few people having a reaction of any kind.

The study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) examined the results of 6,327 OFCs. The majority of those tested were under the age of 18. Researchers found about 2 percent of those being tested had a severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis, and only about 14 percent had any reaction at all.

"Oral food challenges are a very important tool for anyone who wants to know if they have a food allergy," said allergist Kwei Akuete, MD, MPH, ACAAI member and lead author of the study. "As OFCs are the 'gold standard' for determining if someone is allergic to a food, it is important they are both effective and safe. Our study showed OFCs are safer than prior studies estimated, and that OFCs should be routinely used to help determine if a food allergy exists."

Reactions to OFCs that weren't classified as anaphylaxis involved only one part of the body - such as hives on the skin. They were considered mild to moderate - not severe - and were mostly treated with antihistamines. The OFCs were performed at five food allergy centers throughout the US.

"Food challenges improve the quality of life for people with food allergies, even if they are positive," said allergist Carla Davis, MD, ACAAI member and study senior author. "When an OFC is delayed, sometimes people unnecessarily cut certain foods out of their diet, and this has been shown to lead to increases in health costs to the patient. A delay risks problems with nutrition, especially for children. It's important to have an accurate diagnosis of food allergy so an allergist can make a clear recommendation as to what foods you need to keep out of your diet. And if no allergy exists, that clears the way to reintroduce foods you may have thought were off-limits."

Diagnosing food allergy is not always simple, but the need to make a proper diagnosis is very important.

Allergists are specially trained to administer allergy testing and diagnose the results. They can then tailor a plan specific to your allergies. To find an allergist near you, use the ACAAI allergist locator.
-end-
About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

Related Allergies Articles from Brightsurf:

With or without allergies, outcomes similar for hospitalized patients with COVID-19
A new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting examines hospital data to determine if those with allergic conditions had more severe COVID-related disease than those without.

Links between parents' and children's asthma and allergies
New research published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy found that, compared with a father's traits related to allergies and asthma, a mother's traits create a higher risk that a child will develop these same traits in early childhood.

New insight into allergies could improve diagnosis and treatment
A study led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital point to a potential marker of these conditions and a new therapeutic strategy.

Got seasonal allergies? Beetles could help
Allergies caused by the common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, impact millions, and in Europe alone, around 13.5 million people suffer with symptoms, resulting in 7.4 billion Euros worth of health costs per year, according to the research.

Drinking green tea may help with food allergies
Drinking green tea increases Flavonifractor plautii in the gut, which in turn suppresses an allergic food immune response.

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Search for the source of antibodies would help treat allergies
Researchers of Sechenov University together with their colleagues from Russia and Austria summarised everything known about cells producing group E antibodies.

Changes in onset of spring linked to more allergies across the US
Human-induced climate change is disrupting nature's calendar, including when plants bloom and the spring season starts, and new research from the University of School of Public Health suggests we're increasingly paying the price for it in the form of seasonal allergies.

Prenatal allergies prompt sexual changes in offspring
A single allergic reaction during pregnancy prompts sexual-development changes in the brains of offspring that last a lifetime, new research suggests.

Food allergies: A research update
Families impacted by food allergies will need psychosocial support as they try promising new therapies that enable them to ingest a food allergen daily or wear a patch that administers a controlled dose of that food allergen.

Read More: Allergies News and Allergies Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.