Many self-diagnose food allergies

Sept. 23, 2006 at 9:18 PM

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- One out of every three people in the United States claims to have a food allergy of one kind or another, according to the National Institute of Health.

However, experts say the actual incident rate is much lower and a survey conducted among California parents reveals that many parents are self-diagnosing food allergies and eliminating nutrient-rich foods from their child's diet without seeing a doctor first.

"Medical self-diagnosis is risky business," says Dr. Stuart Epstein, an allergist at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine. "Without professional advice, suffering is almost always extended and important foods eliminated unnecessarily."

Parents are sometimes quick to point the finger at cow's milk when their child comes down with unexplained symptoms like intestinal problems or allergic reactions, according to Epstein.

"Eliminating milk from your diet, especially a child's diet, without talking to your doctor first, is not a smart idea," says Epstein.

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