Peanut allergy more hype than truth, finds study
Though there are allergic reactions like itchy rash, swelling on the face or elsewhere, sore eyes, breathing problems, and nausea, it is not often a case of Peanut allergy.
Most of these reactions crop up due to allergies from pollen or grass rather than peanuts in many cases.
The test scored over fake sensitivity tests, and said that a child should avoid peanuts only if he or she is actually allergic to it.
Current test more reliable
Scientists at University Hospital South Manchester at the University of Manchester administered the test under controlled conditions. They gave cookies with or without peanuts to 1,000 children.
The results revealed that 80 percent of children who were earlier thought allergic to peanuts did not undergo any changes.
The blood test that detects antibodies to the peanut protein RH2 was accurate in nearly 97 percent of the cases. The test revealed that the exact number of cases allergic to peanuts were one in 50, which were earlier calculated to be one in ten.
The team is also hopeful to improve the test to verify the severity of allergy to caution the parents against mild or catastrophic reactions if their child munches a peanut product unknowingly.
“There is immense anxiety among parents about peanut allergy. In cases where the child has allergies to other things they will not even give them peanuts just in case. Or where another child in the family has had a reaction to peanuts the whole family avoids them.” said Professor Adnan Custovic, who led the research team.
Custovic added, “The new diagnostic test which accurately discriminates peanut allergy from tolerance will mean we can target avoidance to those patients really at risk, and remove the considerable stress that comes from the many false positive sensitivity tests.”
The test brings a sigh of relief for a lot of people who remain unnecessarily anxious about accidentally eating peanut products and also spend a lot on various misleading tests.
The study appears in the journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.