Table of contents:
- Food allergies: prevention, diagnosis & therapy
- How is the diagnosis of food allergies made?
- How is a food allergy treated?
- Tips for prevention
Video: Food Allergies - Prevention, Diagnosis, Therapy
Food allergies: prevention, diagnosis & therapy
The diagnosis of food allergies is usually more complicated than, for example, a pollen allergy, because those affected have to work with the doctor to detect the cause. The abundance of possibilities is explained by the diverse range of foods. If skin and blood tests with "standard allergens" remain negative, the doctor can ask you to bring the suspect food with you for testing.
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- ">How is the diagnosis of food allergies made?
- How is a food allergy treated?
- Tips for prevention
In the case of suspicious foods, the so-called "rub test" or "prick-to-prick test" can be used to determine possible allergic skin reactivity. This is a currently practiced procedure in many allergy centers, but it can also lead to undesirable allergic reactions.
If a gluten intolerance is suspected, a tissue examination (e.g. intestinal mucous membrane or skin tissue) can be used to establish the diagnosis. Keeping a food diary provides the treating doctor with informative information.
Note Information about the diagnosis and treatment of intolerance cannot replace a personal consultation combined with a diagnosis by a doctor, possibly with the assistance of a dietician. Diets based on self-diagnoses and diagnoses from the Internet and using dubious tests (e.g. for IgG instead of IgE) can easily lead to malnutrition and malnutrition.
How is the diagnosis of food allergies made?
The procedure for diagnosing food allergies is roughly divided into:
- Anamnesis discussion : A comprehensive allergy diagnosis includes a detailed discussion with the doctor, during which the complaints and any connections are explained in detail. It is also important whether the family is already aware of allergies. In this case, there may be an increased tendency. A food diary is particularly helpful and informative. In this, the person concerned documents over a longer period of time what, when and how much of a food was eaten and when which complaints occurred and in what form.
- Allergy test: Different methods are used, in particular the blood is examined for IgE antibodies (CAP test), mostly also the reaction of the skin to the allergen (prick, rub, epicutaneous test). For more information, see Allergy Diagnostics and Laboratory / Allergy.
- Diagnostic diet: If a specific allergy is suspected, allergen avoidance is the top priority. Special diets, such as an elimination diet or a low-allergen diet, are often used to support the results until symptoms decrease. The diagnostic diet with subsequent provocation through oral intake of a certain allergen may only be carried out in specialized centers, because it can also lead to severe allergic reactions. The provocation as the gold standard in food allergy diagnostics provides a clear result as to whether a clinically relevant allergy is present and which dose is barely tolerated or no longer tolerated.
How is a food allergy treated?
Therapy consists in reducing the intake of certain problematic substances through food or avoiding them entirely. There is no general dietary recommendation for allergies or intolerances.
Tips for prevention
- Breastfeeding is by far the best preventive measure against food allergies. According to the Austrian recommendations for complementary foods and the World Health Authority (WHO), exclusive breastfeeding is the ideal protection for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding women (such as pregnant women) are no longer advised to avoid any type of food as a preventive measure. However, if the baby has already developed an allergy, the mother must avoid ingesting the allergen because it can get to the child through breast milk.
- If children with an existing allergy or an increased allergy risk cannot be breastfed, hydrolyzed dairy products or amino acid formulas, currently referred to as HA food (HA = hypoallergenic), should be fed, because there is a 30 percent risk of allergies for the child if one parent is allergic, a 60 percent if both parents are allergic.
- Before the age of six months, cow's milk should be avoided entirely. From the age of six months, cow's milk can be used in small amounts of 100 to 200 ml per day (slowly increasing) to prepare milk and cereal porridge. Porridge made with cow's milk should only be fed once a day. Cow's milk is unsuitable as a drink in the first year of life.
- The introduction of solid foods (complementary foods) should begin spoon-wise between the beginning of the fifth month of life (17th week of life) and the end of the sixth month of life (26th week of life).
- Certain foods such as fish, eggs or peanuts were considered critical foods in the past with regard to the development of allergies. In the meantime, scientific studies indicate that the contact of small amounts of many different foods enables the body to adapt better and even prevent allergies. However, avoiding so-called allergenic foods has no preventive effect.
See Infant Nutrition for more information.
The website also provides information on eating right from the start! - a cooperation project between the Ministry of Health, AGES and the umbrella organization of Austrian social insurance.