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Food Allergy

Conditions Treated Food Allergy

Food hypersensitivity is a general term for adverse reactions to food. This can be broadly divided into:

  1. Food allergy e.g. nuts, seafood, eggs, milk, kiwi, sesame
  2. Food intolerances. These reactions are normally more delayed occurring to a variety of commonly ingested foods e.g. milk, wheat, yeast, sugar and eggs. Mechanisms are non immunological with a variety of different causes e.g. enzyme deficiency, pharmacological reactions, gut fermentation and natural chemicals.

Food Allergy is particularly common in childhood especially children with eczema.

Can occur with many foods but most reactions are to milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, shellfish, soya and sesame.

a. History is very important.
b. Timing (most true allergies occur within 2 hours).
c. Suspect food (? Taken before)
d. Duration – most allergic reactions resolve within 24 hours
e. Risk factors e.g. personal or family history of asthma and eczema
Most children (80-90%) grow out of milk, egg and wheat allergy. Suitability to re-introduce foods is clarified by history, skin and blood testing.

A small minority (10-20%) only will grow out of nut and shellfish allergy.

Adrenalin injections are prescribed depending on the severity of the reactions and food involved. Most peanut allergy patients will require injections unless the reaction has been minor and localised.