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Pediatr Ann. 2008 Aug;37(8):546-51.

Food allergy: diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention.

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  • 1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, USA.


Primary care providers are advised to refer to an allergist those children in whom they suspect a food allergic reaction. Approximately 6% of U.S. children have food allergy, although many more parents will present with concerns of a food-induced condition. At higher risk are young children with atopic dermatitis. Generally, the stronger the test response (wheal size or sIgE concentration), the more likely there is to be clinical allergy. However, testing must be applied judiciously. Most importantly, the medical history must be considered in order to interpret test results appropriately. Avoidance of the offending food allergen is currently the only way to prevent reactions. Because exposures and reactions can occur unexpectedly, patients and their families must be prepared to treat symptoms quickly with intramuscular epinephrine in the lateral thigh. Hopefully, additional treatment options will become available in the near future to ease the anxiety and fearfulness that parents and patients face on a daily basis. Until then, healthcare providers are urged to demonstrate the correct administration of autoinjectable epinephrine using a placebo device and review the technique with families on an ongoing basis.

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