Melbourne, May 22 : More than one in ten adults Down Under believe that they have a sensitivity to food when they do not, say skin specialists, who label Australians the 'World's Worst Allergy Hypochondriacs'.
According to statistics, contradictory to people' s beliefs only 1-2 per cent have a true allergy to food.
Professor Connie Katelaris, an allergy specialist at Sydney's Campbelltown Hospital, told a meeting of dermatologists that Australia had claimed top spot on the list of countries whose citizens believed they had a food allergy.
"What's more, these imagined food allergies are far more likely to be reported by women than by men," The Daily Telegraph quoted Katelaris, as saying.
She said there were several theories as to why adults wrongly blamed food for their rashes and skin reactions.
"An individual often feels that they have control over their symptoms if they blame food. Believing that symptoms are caused by a food allergy means that there is an understandable cause.
"And food allergy is a diagnosis favored by alternative practitioners, despite the lack of evidence showing that it is to blame," Katelaris added.
Dr Stephen Shumack of the Australasian College of Dermatologists agreed most rashes seen by dermatologists in Australia were not caused by food allergies but rather skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
"We would see many rashes a day in our practices and rarely see any related to food allergies," Shumack said.