Thursday, April 28, 2011

Food allergy sadly usually missed

In my clinic - just seen another food allergy muddle. A child who has been misdiagnosed as a ‘viral illness’ and ‘vomiting illness’. However, this 9-month child has classical cow’s milk allergy: with symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, eczema, runny nose and chesty breathing.

This little boy has already seen a dermatologist, a pediatrician and many general practitioners. They have just treated him for his symptoms, but have been blind to the fact that he has had milk allergy from the first few weeks of life.

Unfortunately mother was not able to breastfeed him. Although my skin-prick allergy testing was negative, he still likely to have a cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI). This is one of the major mistakes many medics make: they assume that if the skin-prick tests (or EAST/RAST tests) are negative then that child cannot have food allergy – this thinking is completely wrong. Most children with a cow’s milk protein intolerance in fact have a negative skin test. The skin-prick testing only tells you what sort of reaction is occurring.

By the way, gluten sensitivity/intolerance children have negative skin-prick tests to gluten and wheat.

This child is now on Neocate and will get better. It distresses me to know that so many paediatricians and general practitioners are ignorant about food allergies. About 10% of children react to dairy but almost no medical specialists acknowledge this fact. This is one of the reasons why I have set up the eClinic: to help the parents through the allergy maze.

Dr Rodney Ford


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