Environmental allergies vs. food allergies

Ron Ferdman, MD Pediatrician, Allergy & Immunology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, shares advice on the differences between food allergies and environmental allergies
The Differences Between Food And Environmental Allergies
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Environmental allergies vs. food allergies

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Any test that doctors do in general – and that includes allergy tests – can be incorrect. You can get both false positives and false negatives. For environmental allergens, such as dust and mold and pollens, the allergy tests are actually pretty good. Abnormal test almost certainly means you’re allergic to it and a normal test almost certainly means you’re not allergic to it. The problem comes mostly with foods. Food allergy tests have a very high false positive rate. So it looks very often times on paper that the person is allergic to the food, but in reality, they can eat the food with no problem. So the food allergy tests really need to be interpreted not just by yes or no, you have to look at the size of allergy test, how strong the blood test is, and take that into account the medical history as well. That’s why we often have to do a food challenge to actually confirm the food allergy test.

Ron Ferdman, MD Pediatrician, Allergy & Immunology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, shares advice on the differences between food allergies and environmental allergies

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Ronald Ferdman, MD

Pediatrician, Allergy and Immunology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Ronald Ferdman received his BA from the University of California at San Diego and his MD from Hahnemann University (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia.  He completed both his Pediatric residency and his fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, then obtained a Masters in Medical Education (MEd) from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Education.  He currently is an attending physician in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.  He is board certified allergy/immunologist, and is a fellow in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.  His current interests include management of allergic and immunologic diseases in high-risk children and education for families and clinicians. He is a California native, where he currently lives with his wife Susan and their three of four children, and spends his spare time wishing for more.

 

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