THE ACCURACY OF ALLERGY TESTS
by Xenia Stavrinides
Peanut allergies are on the rise, there are even some people who can not come within 100-200 feet distance of any peanut (or peanut product), without having a reaction. Peanuts are classifieds in the legume family, they are not nuts.
Allergic reactions can be life threatening such as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is also known as Anaphylactic shock where it can exhibit symptoms like difficulty breathing, panic, swelling inside the throat, hyperventilation, a sudden and dramatic drop in blood pressure, and it could be so severe that the person my even develop pasty/pale skin or blue/purple lips which can lead to dizziness, and fainting. Unless a reaction such as described is treated immediately with an epinephrine pin (adrenaline) and in certain circumstances, more than one application may be necessary; anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock can be fatal.
Since about 1998 the Centers for Disease Control have been more accurately tracking the number of deaths related to food allergies and upon the issuance of a death certificate, a record with a code number is generated and travels through a multitude of databases, of the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death (ICD-10), a standardized system developed by the World Health Organization. ICD-9. According to the CDC in 2005, from 2.5 million deaths, 11 total were from food related allergies. Journalist, Meredith Broussard mentioned in an article that there were more deaths from lawnmower accidents than food-related anaphylaxis.
Peanut Allergy Testing
Peanut allergies are difficult to diagnose, and this can result in further health related issues which go undiagnosed. This means that the specific reaction continues even during some situations when a product containing peanut is not in the chain.
The ACAA states "Because a peanut allergy can be difficult to diagnose through skin tests or blood tests, your allergist may put you on a food elimination diet, in which you avoid the suspected food allergen for a specific period of time (normally two to four weeks)."
I have several concerns regarding the treatment of an ailment, disease or infection without a proper diagnosis. Treating a symptom is not the same thing as getting to the root cause. Treating the symptoms means that the root cause remains and can continue to manifest and even mutate. Mutation leads to further health-related complications.
An article posted by Allergy and Asthma Associates
"A NEW TEST FOR PATIENTS WITH PEANUT ALLERGY" states the following
"A new test is now available that can help tell us which patients are at risk for severe peanut allergy. Results from this test may help allergists “undiagnose” some children’s peanut allergies."
Studies have shown "Contamination of peanuts with mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins, is a worldwide problem that affects both food safety and agricultural economies. ... Both mycotoxins are produced by Aspergillus flavus, a ubiquitous fungus that can infect and grow in peanuts under both pre- and post-harvest conditions"