June 5 (UPI) -- For the first time, researchers have created a single comprehensive guideline for the diagnosis and management of peanut and tree nut allergies.
Nut allergies are the most common cause of severe and fatal allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis. Nut allergies affect 1 in 50 children and 1 in 200 adults throughout the world.
The guideline was developed by the Standards of Care Committee of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
According to researchers, the majority of healthcare professionals who care for patients with nut allergies receive no formal training, leading to inconsistent care.
The guideline includes an updated educational package based on an extensive literature review, consultation with healthcare professionals and expert consensus. The document includes diagnostic algorithms and a detailed discussion on the utility of diagnostic tests to better diagnose nut allergies more accurately.
The guidelines also define the role of food challenges in diagnosis and the exclusion of allergy. A comprehensive management plan that includes avoidance advice, patient-specific emergency medication and an emergency treatment plan with Epipen training was also included.
"The Standards of Care Committee are excited about the forthcoming publication of the new nut allergy guideline," Dr. Andrew Clark, SOCC chairman, said in a press release. "This guideline provides practical advice on all key areas, from diagnostic algorithms to treatment advice and discussion of cutting-edge issues such as component testing, precautionary labeling, challenges, early-life introduction and immunotherapy. This continues our pipeline of highly successful published guidelines, written by experts in the field, using rigorous NICE-accredited processes."
The study was published Friday in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.