The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) launched their latest guidelines for diagnosing IgE-mediated food allergy this October. It’s the first update in ten years and includes all the latest advances in food allergy diagnosis. The guidelines were developed by a global panel of experts, including patient representatives, and aim to give healthcare professionals clear guidance on best practice to support them in making a diagnosis, reduce overuse and misinterpretation of tests, and improve the lives of individuals with food allergies and their families.
Globally, up to 10% of children and adults are affected by food allergies, and hospital admissions to treat serious reactions has been rising. Being diagnosed with a food allergy means the person affected can learn which foods to avoid and what to do in an emergency, but it can also mean a change in lifestyle and cause anxiety around food and social occasions, so it’s essential to get an accurate diagnosis.
The new guidelines include eight recommendations to give clinicians the knowledge and tools to confirm or rule out a diagnosis. They were developed with experts from around the world to ensure they are relevant and effective across different populations, with experts representing Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Patient representatives were included to ensure patients’ perspectives were taken into account. The guidelines highlight the importance of shared decision making between the patient and clinician, considering their individual history and specific needs.
The recommendations are presented with the supporting evidence, including a systematic review of studies looking at the diagnostic accuracy food allergy tests. In the absence of an absolute test to confirm a food allergy diagnosis, other than a food challenge, the guidelines present the latest data on IgE testing and developments in component-resolved diagnosis and cellular tests.
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