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ACAAI: Allergy Misconceptions Found Common Among PCPs

Survey results show primary care physicians may be lacking important knowledge

FRIDAY, Nov. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Among primary care providers, misconceptions about allergies are fairly common -- particularly when it comes to food allergies, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 6 to 10 in Atlanta.

In a survey of 409 internists and pediatricians, researchers found a variety of misconceptions about allergies. For example, one-third of all doctors, and half of internists, did not know the go-to treatment for a person who develops hives and vomiting after eating a known food allergen (injection of epinephrine). There were also false beliefs about some of the causes and consequences of allergies. Most internists -- 85 percent -- thought people with egg allergies cannot receive the flu vaccine. And only 27 percent of pediatricians knew that milk and eggs are the most common causes of food allergies in children younger than 4.

Two other misconceptions were common in the survey: Most pediatricians thought skin testing for food or airborne allergens is inaccurate when done in children younger than 3. And, most doctors thought it was necessary to ask patients about allergies to shellfish or iodine before they could have a computed tomography scan or other tests that use iodine-containing contrast dyes. People with shellfish allergies don't have a higher risk of an allergic reaction to contrast dyes than the general population, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology practice guidelines on drug allergies.

"This points to some key areas where there's a need for more education," senior researcher David Stukus, M.D., an allergy specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told HealthDay.

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