Parents who have kids with peanut allergies know that it can present several problems and worries.
That and traditionally getting a diagnosis has been far from simple.
Many parents opt to slowly introduce peanuts to their young child’s diet – to prevent potential peanut allergies later in life and to identify any possible reactions early.
However, now scientists in the UK have come up with a much more straightforward way of accurately monitoring allergies: a blood test.
Blood tests have also been used for decades, of course, but they often produce false positives – because they look for antibodies and can’t differentiate between sensitivity and a true food allergy, according to the Reuters.
Research presented last year to the American College of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology states that peanut allergies in children have increased by 21 percent since 2010. Science Daily says 2.5 percent of US children are allergic.
The UK study, published in the Journal of Allergy And Clinical Immunology, examined 174 children, aged from six months to 17 years old; 73 of whom were allergic to peanuts.
It found that the worst-affected patients had the most activated mast cells, which contribute to the triggering of allergic symptoms like skin reactions and constricted airways, the BBC reports.
Blood tests that looked for these cells had 98 percent specificity… that means less risk and more reliability.
Peanuts, milk, eggs, and tree nuts are the most common allergens in children – accounting for 90 percent of all reactions, according to Kids Health.
Understandably, having one cost-effective, efficient, and reliable blood test that could comprehensively test for all of these food allergies will have a seriously positive impact on children’s health.