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FAAN and FAI Endorse Food Allergy Guidelines for Patients, Families, and Caregivers

Guidelines Empower People to Confidently Manage Food Allergies

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A layperson’s summary of clinical food allergy guidelines for healthcare professionals has made the highly scientific and sometimes confusing subject of food allergy accessible to families and caregivers, who can use this document to improve dialogue with their physician.

The “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States” were published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology to provide clinicians across many specialties with guidance about food allergies in order to establish best practices for the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies.

This new summary, specifically created for the public, highlights the information most important to patients, families, and caregivers in order for them to work in partnership with their healthcare provider and to empower them to successfully manage food allergies.

"This tool gives patients the facts they need to ensure they are receiving the best care.”

Representatives from the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) both served on the coordinating committee that developed the guidelines and both organizations fully endorse the document. In fact, the expert panel that wrote the guidelines included members of FAAN and FAI’s Medical Advisory Boards.

Among the 43 guidelines, here are some key recommendations and suggestions:

  • Blood and skin tests alone cannot be used to diagnose food allergy. You do not have food allergy unless you also have clinical symptoms.
  • Due to lack of evidence, it is not suggested that pregnant or nursing mothers restrict their diets during pregnancy or when breastfeeding as a way to prevent food allergy from developing in an infant.
  • Delaying introduction of solid foods, including potentially allergenic foods, to an infant beyond 4 to 6 months of age as a way to prevent allergic diseases from developing is not recommended.

“It is important for doctors and their patients to both understand how to manage food allergies,” said Maria Acebal, CEO, FAAN. “Even within the medical community, the basics of food allergy treatment and diagnosis can sometimes be misunderstood. This tool gives patients the facts they need to ensure they are receiving the best care.”

“We were proud to underwrite the publication of the guidelines for distribution to healthcare providers in December 2010,” said Mary Jane Marchisotto, executive director, FAI. “We commend the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for publishing this layperson’s summary, which will help food-allergic individuals and their families to understand this complex disease and to work effectively with their healthcare team.”

A free copy of the guidelines summary may be found on the website for the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

 

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, July/August 2011.