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Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2016 Jun;59(6):737-44. doi: 10.1007/s00103-016-2360-5.

[Food allergy in adulthood].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Dermatologie, Allergologie und Venerologie, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625, Hannover, Deutschland.


Food allergies can newly arise in adulthood or persist following a food allergy occurring in childhood. The prevalence of primary food allergy is basically higher in children than in adults; however, in the routine practice food allergies in adulthood appear to be increasing and after all a prevalence in Germany of 3.7 % has been published. The clinical spectrum of manifestations of food allergies in adulthood is broad. Allergy symptoms of the immediate type can be observed as well as symptoms occurring after a delay, such as indigestion, triggering of hematogenous contact eczema or flares of atopic dermatitis. The same principles for diagnostics apply in this group as in childhood. In addition to the anamnesis, skin tests and in vitro tests, as a rule elimination diets and in particular provocation tests are employed. Molecular allergy diagnostics represent a major step forward, which allow a better assessment of the risk of systemic reactions to certain foodstuffs (e.g. peanuts) and detection of cross-reactions in cases of apparently multiple sensitivities. Current German and European guidelines from 2015 are available for the practical approach to clarification of food allergies. The most frequent food allergies in adults are nuts, fruit and vegetables, which can cross-react with pollen as well as wheat, shellfish and crustaceans. The therapy of allergies involves a consistent avoidance of the allogen. Detailed dietary plans are available with avoidance strategies and instructions for suitable food substitutes. A detailed counseling of affected patients by specially trained personnel is necessary especially in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies and to enable patients to enjoy a good quality of life.


Cross-allergy; Food allergies; Immunoglobulin E; Molecular allergy diagnostics; Oral provocation test

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