The number of cases of children being admitted to hospital because they are allergic to something they ate has increased by 500% in 20 years, according to the NICE.
Of all children under the age of three in Europe and north America, between 6% and 8% of them have some kind of food allergy. Some reactions to food can be severe and are a major problem for the field of paediatrics.
The institute has decided, for the first time, to issue guidance about child food allergies for GPs to help them spot the signs and which tells them when to diagnose a food allergy and when to do more tests.
Judith Richardson, associate director of the institute’s Centre for Clinical Practice, said: “This will be the first evidence-based guideline on how health professionals and others who work with young children should diagnose and assess food allergies in children.”
The guidance also advises against using allergy tests offered by non-medical practitioners, some of which include hair analysis and kinesiology. These tests frequently misdiagnose conditions in children which can lead to unnecessarily restrictive diets which in turn can lead to malnutrition.