Diagnosing and managing food allergies

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A food allergy can be a serious and often misunderstood condition. A new campaign and website may help.

A food allergy can be a serious and often misunderstood condition. A new campaign and website may help.

HERE’S food for thought: Food allergies affect approximately 15 million Americans. Despite this, according to a recent survey, half of all Americans say they lack proper knowledge about the condition.

The danger

Many people dangerously believe there’s little or no difference between food allergies and food intolerances and that someone with a food allergy can eat small amounts of a food without having a reaction—when, often, the reaction can be life threatening. Fortunately, there are people working on a solution to this problem.

An answer


The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) and American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) are launching a public service campaign to raise awareness of accurate food allergy diagnosis and effective management. The campaign encourages Americans with food allergy questions and concerns to see a board-certified allergist and visit www.livingwithfoodallergies.org. There, they can quickly access science-based information from trusted sources and find a board-certified allergist nearby. The site also provides links to support groups, resources for developing food allergy and anaphylaxis management plans, and other ideas valuable to anyone who has or may have a food allergy.

Further findings

The survey also discovered:

  • More than half of respondents (68 percent) think the average American would not know what to do if someone he or she is with has an allergic reaction to a food;
  • 82 percent agree that much more education needs to be done about food allergies and keeping those with allergies safe;
  • 31 percent incorrectly believe the only difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance is the level of severity; and
  • One in four reported they would search the Internet or visit a health-related website first for more information.

“Too often in my practice, I see patients who don’t have the correct information about food allergies,” explained allergist Todd Mahr, M.D., ACAAI Fellow. “Many people aren’t taking all the steps we recommend to keep themselves or their loved ones safe. Others are living a life that doesn’t have to be as difficult as it is because they have been misdiagnosed with or think they have food allergies.”

About the research

Research was conducted by leading international research firm Toluna, on behalf of FAACT and ACAAI.

For further information, visit livingwithfoodallergies.org.

North American Precis Syndicate

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