Food allergy (FA) is estimated at 5-10% of children worldwide (1) and 8% of children in the United States (2). There are great levels of stress and anxiety that affect patients or parents of children with food allergy. There are emotional, financial and psychosocial impacts associated with food allergies. Food allergies can develop at any time and the allergic reaction can range from mild (oral allergy syndrome which is a localized oropharyngeal pruritus occurring with eating fresh fruits or vegetables in pollen allergic individuals) to moderate and in extreme cases, serious generalized hypersensitivity or ANAPHYLAXIS.
Food allergies are associated with systemic symptoms that may include cutaneous, gastrointestinal,
respiratory, cardiovascular or neurologic. The symptoms may include itching, hives, eye swelling,
abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of bowel control, nasal congestion, throat itching, throat
arrest, anxiety, sense of doom or loss of consciousness.
Patients should see an allergist when suspecting any food allergy. Allergy skin tests for food allergies
should be avoided as there is a potential of anaphylaxis associated with skin testing. After a thorough
history and physical exam, we will order appropriate screening laboratory tests to identify any food
allergies. Patients will be instructed on how to avoid suspect foods. An epinephrine autoinjection will be
provided. School forms will be completed for school children with food allergies. Our hope for the future is in the treatment approach of food allergies with epicutaneous or oral immunotherapy but that is still in research and clinical studies.