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Don't Limit Diet Because of Unfounded Food-Allergy Fears

Armen Hareyan's picture

Food Allergy

Many people unnecessarily avoid certain foods because of mistaken fears about food allergies. Parents are especially prone to limiting the diets of their children. In one study, 28 percent of parents thought their children had at least one food allergy during the first three years of life. However, careful testing showed that only 8 percent of the children actually had a food allergy.

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"Food allergies can be a serious, even life-threatening condition, and patients need to avoid foods that cause allergic reactions," said National Jewish pediatric allergist David Fleischer, M.D. "On the other hand, unnecessarily limiting a child's diet can create anxiety about food and make it difficult to get adequate nutrition. A careful medical history and diagnosis by a physician can clarify exactly what foods, if any, need to be avoided."

Difficult diagnosis

Self-diagnosis of food allergy can be difficult. For one, a person usually consumes several foods at one sitting, making it difficult to identify the food that caused a reaction. Also, there can be a delay between eating a food and developing a reaction, adding to the difficulty of identifying exactly what caused the reaction.