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Allergy Proc. 1994 Jul-Aug;15(4):203-10.

The precipitation of symptoms by common foods in children with atopic dermatitis.

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Department of Clinical Science and Immunology, University of Cape Town, Republic of South Africa.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic and disabling condition that has a major impact on financial and social resources of the individual and the community. Its incidence is increasing dramatically, and no cure is available. Pharmacological treatment is only partially effective. The evidence that diet plays a role in children with atopic dermatitis is now irrefutable. Prophylactic measures can prevent or limit the development of AD, and partially restricted diets can modify the disease's course or severity. This study reports the reactions to various foods as perceived by parents of 112 children affected by AD. It demonstrates that many foods exacerbate AD and that reactions are caused by two distinct groups of food. The commonest triggers of cutaneous symptoms are tomatoes, oranges, sweets, pineapple, chocolate, and softdrinks preserved with sulfur dioxide. These foods result in symptoms in 30% to 49% of the children. The traditional IgE reaction type foods, namely egg, fish, milk, and peanut, resulted in reactions in 14% to 25% of the children, and with many non-cutaneous symptoms. The study further shows that allergen avoidance measures are not practiced in our community, and that sound advice is not often proffered. Practical advice on prophylactic dietary preventative measures and dietary management of children with atopic dermatitis is presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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