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Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Feb;111(2):223-5.

Food allergy: an overview.

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  • 1Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Qu├ębec, Canada. rhoda.kagan@muhc.mcgill.ca

Abstract

Food allergy affects between 5% and 7.5% of children and between 1% and 2% of adults. The greater prevalence of food allergy in children reflects both the increased predisposition of children to develop food allergies and the development of immunologic tolerance to certain foods over time. Immunoglobulin (Ig) E-mediated food allergies can be classified as those that persist indefinitely and those that are predominantly transient. Although there is overlap between the two groups, certain foods are more likely than others to be tolerated in late childhood and adulthood. The diagnosis of food allergy rests with the detection of food-specific IgE in the context of a convincing history of type I hypersensitivity-mediated symptoms after ingestion of the suspected food or by eliciting IgE-mediated symptoms after controlled administration of the suspected food. Presently, the only available treatment of food allergies is dietary vigilance and administration of self-injectable epinephrine.

PMID:
12573910
PMCID:
PMC1241355
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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