Hundreds of thousands of children are being wrongly diagnosed with allergies – because of unreliable tests, experts have warned.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) says that many children are being put on unnecessarily restrictive diets which cut out important foods such as eggs, milk, fish and wheat, which can leave them malnourished.
The problem has been triggered because parents often find GPs unhelpful and are unsure where to turn to when their children develop possible symptoms of allergies, such as a persistent runny nose or tummy aches. This is increasingly causing them to go online for 'alternative' allergy tests sold by private firms, says NICE.
Many of these allergy testing kits provide inaccurate conclusions and have 'dangerous' consequences for children's health, according to NICE. It says that many of the techniques used, which include analysing strands of hair, or muscle strength misdiagnose allergies and intolerances in children when there is actually very little wrong.
NICE is calling on GPs to be more vigilant about investigating common ailments in children and to refer them to NHS clinics rather than risking parents turning to private firms.
What do you think?
Have you used an allergy testing kit bought online for your child?
Have you changed your child's diet because of an allergy or intolerance?