The incidence of food allergy, and particularly peanut allergy, has increased substantially in Australia over the past decade. A thorough clinical history and specific testing should be conducted to identify the allergen. Allergen avoidance and education are currently the mainstays of treatment.
- More than one-third of children with IgE-mediated food allergy will react on their first known ingestion of a food.
- Cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat cause more than 90% of food allergies in children.
- Exclusion diets should only be undertaken with specialist advice because they may inadvertently worsen, rather than aid, the child’s situation.
- Foods already tolerated in the child’s diet should not be removed if a skin prick test or serum-specific immunoglobulin E to that food is positive but there are no clinical signs of allergy to that food.
- New evidence suggests that early introduction and regular ingestion of certain allergenic foods significantly reduces the risk of developing food allergy.
- There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest anaphylaxis can occur from skin contact with an allergen.
Picture credit: © Astier/BSIP/SPL