Eczematous reactions to food in atopic eczema: position paper of the EAACI and GA2LEN

Allergy. 2007 Jul;62(7):723-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2007.01429.x.


Food allergy and atopic eczema (AE) may occur in the same patient. Besides typical immediate types of allergic reactions (i.e. noneczematous reactions) which are observed in patients suffering from AE, it is clear that foods, such as cow's milk and hen's eggs, can directly provoke flares of AE, particularly in sensitized infants. In general, inhaled allergens and pollen-related foods are of greater importance in older children, adolescents and adults. Clinical studies have revealed that more than 50% of affected children with AE that can be exacerbated by certain foods will react with a worsening of skin eczema either alone or in addition to immediate symptoms. Adolescents and adults may also react to foods, but reactions to 'classical' food allergens, such as hen's eggs and cow's milk, are not as common as in childhood. Some patients with AE do react to pollen-associated foods. Food-induced eczema should not be neglected by the allergologist: On the one hand, food can be a relevant trigger factor of persistent moderate-to-severe AE; on the other hand, unnecessary diets which are not based on a proper diagnosis may lead to malnutrition and additional psychological stress on patients suffering from AE. Eczematous reactions to food can only be diagnosed by a thorough diagnostic procedure, taking into account the patient's history, the degree of sensitization and the clinical relevance of the sensitization. The latter has often to be proven by oral food challenges. Upon oral food challenge it is most important to evaluate the status of the skin with an established score (e.g. SCORAD, EASI) after 24 h and later because otherwise worsening of eczema will be missed.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / etiology
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / standards
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Reference Standards
  • Titrimetry