Dr. Bruce Hensel
Salini Bowen, whose son has several food allergies, says parents can’t let their guard down when it comes to their kid’s food allergies. The uKnow test now allows parents and patients to test the severity of food allergies, which Dr. Inderpal Randhawa, of Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, explains replaces fear with knowledge. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2012.
Parents and physicians are lauding an FDA-approved test that can determine how severe food allergies will affect the patient with more specific, accurate results than ever before.
Salini Bowen carefully watches everything her son. When William was 11 months old, he was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, including peanuts.
“You’re definitely on your toes.You can’t let your guard down,” Bowen said.
Before this highly-sensitive test, the traditional skin prick test and blood test could tell whether you are allergic to a peanut or not, but that’s about as far as it goes.
Parents, like Bowen, didn’t have a clear answer about what would happen if their child eats a peanut – will they just get a rash? Or will they go into a full anaphylactic shock, which is life threatening?
“It’s definitely scary and stressful. Birthday parties, for example, typical things that kids do, that are very innocent and fun become a huge stressful situation,” Bowen said.
Then she heard about a new test that can help clarify just how bad William’s peanut allergy really is.
The uKnow Peanut Test can test how allergic the patient is to the six most dangerous protein components in a peanut, the ones that can trigger a life-threatening reaction. It can also test for other food allergies.
Dr. Inderpal Randhawa, director of the Food Allergy Center at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, said the test is able to predict reactions 65 to 70 percent of the time, and that is a big improvement over traditional tests.
“Now we can tell them, with a much larger degree of certainty, you’re in the high-risk category, versus a low-risk category or no-risk category," Randhawa said.
It’s a simple blood draw that can be done at any doctor’s office and lab results come back in a few weeks.
“Food allergy is nothing to fear. You want knowledge, knowledge is power. Instead of trying to assume the worst, let’s look at our numbers,” Randhawa said.
The testing found that while William’s peanut allergy was indeed life threatening, his other food allergies were not. He was able to treat some of those other food allergies based on the test results, and underwent a food desensitization regimen at Miller Children's Hospital, and can now eat eggs and soy.