health on the web

Social Content, Allergies and the Parents who Diagnose Them

By Social Media

Photo credit: Muffet

I was allergic to dairy products until I was about 12 years old. Recent health issues led to surgery (I’m fine, now) and for the last month my diet has subsisted primarily of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. I’ve been adding dairy back in gradually and it’s the weirdest thing — it all tastes off to me. In the last couple of weeks I’ve poured out a couple of glasses of milk that were fine, but for some reason just tasted really sour.

I’m fascinated by this new study that suggests food allergies may be more common than originally thought and that about 8% of American children likely have them.

The Booster Shots blog of the LA Times reports this:

KidsHealth, from the Nemours Foundation, has this to say about “growing out” of allergies:

“Most kids who are allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, or soy outgrow their allergies by the time they’re 5 years old. But only about 20% of people with peanut allergy and about 10% of kids with tree nut allergy outgrow their allergy. Fish and shellfish allergies usually develop later in life, and people are unlikely to outgrow them.”

Now, I hope that information like this study doesn’t result in a slew of parents downsizing kids’ diets. If anything, I hope that more parents seek allergy testing for their kids when they suspect sensitivities. The results of these studies are often inflammatory, whether that’s the intent or not.

I’m glad I outgrew my allergy to dairy early and suspect that this current aversion will work its way through my system as well. Studies like these and the wealth of health information available online may contribute to parents over-diagnosing allergies. Leave the diagnosing to the professionals, and read online social content such as blogs and warnings via social networks with a grain of salt.