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Phadia’s F7 test is used to detect blood levels of the IgE (antibodies) responsible for allergic reactions to oats. Although many people are sensitive to oats (skin tests or positive IgE levels), allergic reactions (immediate or delayed, limited or severe) are rare and often manifest as skin problems. Oat allergies should not be confused with celiac disease, which is triggered by gluten. Oats do not normally contain gluten, but many oat preparations are contaminated with gluten from wheat. The interpretation chart accompanying the result expresses the probability of an allergic reaction to oats, but not necessarily the severity of the reaction. Case history (symptoms, relation to meals, snacks, etc.) and clinical examination by the physician are essential for a reliable interpretation of the results.

A negative anti-oat IgE result (< 0.35 kU/L) indicates that oats are probably not responsible for the reported symptoms, but it DOES NOT COMPLETELY RULE OUT THIS POSSIBILITY. Both negative and positive results must be interpreted in light of the case history. The double-blind oral food challenge remains the definitive technique for confirming a true food allergy, including one to oats.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.