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Aust Fam Physician. 2008 Apr;37(4):222-6.

Food allergy in adults.

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Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria.



There is a marked increase in the prevalence of food allergies. Food allergy can cause fatal anaphylaxis and the victims are most often adolescents and young adults.


This article focuses on IgE mediated food allergy and provides a review of the diagnostic and management strategies for food allergy, including a treatment algorithm for anaphylaxis. The role of the general practitioner in food allergy, when to refer to an allergist, and how to support patients with food allergies long term, including survival tips for patients with food allergy, are also discussed.


The key management of food allergy is allergen avoidance informed by accurate allergy diagnosis. Inadvertent exposure to food triggers unfortunately does occur and patients need to be confident in prompt self management. Adrenaline must be given for all potentially life threatening food allergy reactions. Anaphylaxis action plans and optimal asthma control are also critical management objectives.

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