I’m sure I’ll get some flak for this post, but I’m not running for office, so I’ll just be honest. Most doctors know nearly nothing about pediatric food allergy. There, I said it. I’m talking about your family doc, your pediatrician, your PA, and probably your local allergist. The reason I know this, is because I finished 4 years of med school and 3 years of pediatric training, and learned nearly 90% of my food allergy knowledge from my children. The other 10% is because my residency director was a pediatric allergist, and I did an elective with her. In the office, I have new patients transfer in with enough poor food allergy management to make your head spin…so it’s not just my educational programs that were lacking.
When you combine a general lack of knowledge with the sexy well-advertised ImmunoCAP RAST testing, it’s pretty much a disaster for families in the way of false positive results. So my Mother’s Day advice is this: If your child has been diagnosed with more than 2 food allergies, or has been diagnosed with allergies to foods that were previously eaten without severe reaction, or has been diagnosed on blood test only without history of exposure…get yourself a Rock Star Allergist for a second opinion. Your regular doctor shouldn’t care, your regular allergist shouldn’t care. They are not the ones cooking.
So how do you find such a Rock Star? Your best bet is to find the biggest and most reputable children’s hospital in your state and look for their pediatric food allergy program. Yes, you might have to drive a few hours. Yes, you might have to hassle with your insurance a bit. But most allergy appointments are yearly, or maybe twice a year affairs. It’s worth the effort to know your child’s true allergy, for certain. The other added bonus is having a connection to the research that comes out of these big children’s hospitals. Because when they start working cures (I’m talking to you Greenhawt), you’ll be right there in line. We’re on our way to Ann Arbor today to see Dr. McMorris and Dr. Greenhawt, with appropriate allergy-friendly cookies as well. Happy Mother’s Day!