Parents and GPs’ understandings and beliefs about food allergy testing in children with eczema: qualitative interview study within the Trial of Eczema allergy Screening Tests (TEST) feasibility trial

Clare Clement*, Matthew J Ridd, Kirsty A Roberts, Miriam Santer, Robert J Boyle, Ingrid Muller, Anna L Gilbertson, Elizabeth Angier, Lucy E Selman, Alison R G Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Aim To explore parent and general practitioner (GP) understanding and beliefs about food allergy testing for children with eczema.

Design and setting Qualitative interview study in UK primary care within the Trial of Eczema allergy Screening Tests feasibility trial.

Participants Semi-structured interviews with parents of children with eczema taking part in the feasibility study and GPs at practices hosting the study.

Results 21 parents and 11 GPs were interviewed. Parents discussed a range of potential causes for eczema, including a role for food allergy. They believed allergy testing to be beneficial as it could potentially identify a cure or help reduce symptoms and they found negative tests reassuring, suggesting to them that no dietary changes were needed. GPs reported limited experience and uncertainty regarding food allergy in children with eczema. While some GPs believed referral for allergy testing could be appropriate, most were unclear about its utility. They thought it should be reserved for children with severe eczema or complex problems but wanted more information to advise parents and help guide decision making.

Conclusions Parents’ motivations for allergy testing are driven by the desire to improve their child’s condition and exclude food allergy as a possible cause of symptoms. GPs are uncertain about the role of allergy testing and want more information about its usefulness to support parents and help inform decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere041229
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Volume10
Issue number11
Early online date18 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Nov 2020

Structured keywords

  • BRTC
  • TEST

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