- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
Performing allergy challenges on children can be a good way of testing their tolerance on certain foods especially when there is doubt on the specific product that they are allergic to.
“By introducing a small amount of a certain ‘susceptible’ food to the child, a parent is able to gauge the reaction and determine the extent of allergy so that they can stop feeding it to them or in cases where there is no reaction start feeding it to them,” said Betty Mutio, a nurse at a local hospital.
“The allergen test is usually administered when there is doubt on the food that a child is allergic to and to find out whether there are still allergic to a particular food.”
However the allergy challenges have at times been found to be inconclusive this is according to the Australian Society of Child Immunology and Allergy in an article titled; Food allergen challenges FAQs.
“Due to the incremental and controlled nature of food allergen challenges, it is possible for a person to have a mild allergic reaction at challenge, and then have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the same food in a different setting,” read the article
“Therefore a food allergen challenge may not completely identify the risk of anaphylaxis due to the future ingestion of a food in a person. However it may provide an indication of the risk. For example, if a mild reaction occurs after only a very small amount of food, that person may be considered at increased risk due to accidental exposure in the future.”
It is therefore strictly advised for parents seeking to administer food allergy challenges to their children to do so under medical supervision.
“Such risky medical procedures should not be carried out without the presence of a doctor as they may occur a severe reaction that needs immediate medical attention,” said nurse Mutio.