Background: Atopic dermatitis is a major public health problem, often starting in early childhood and sometimes followed by other allergic diseases. Although hypersensitivity to foods is assumed to play an essential role in the development of atopic dermatitis in some patients, little is known about common food allergens in Iranian children with atopic dermatitis.
Objectives: This study was designed to identify probable food allergens in Iranian children with atopic dermatitis and find the relationship between food sensitization and the severity of atopic dermatitis.
Methods: This study included 90 children aged 2-48 months with atopic dermatitis. Skin prick tests for cow's milk, hen's egg, almond, potato and soybean were done. Serum specific IgE to 20 food allergens was also screened.
Results: Among children with atopic dermatitis, the frequency of food sensitization was 40% by skin prick test and 51% by food-specific IgE. Children with atopic dermatitis were most commonly sensitized to cow's milk (31%), hen's egg (17.7%), tree nuts (17.7%), wheat (12.2%), potato (11.1%), tomato (8.8%) and peanut (8.8%). In 42 children with moderate to severe eczema, sensitivity to food allergens was 78.5% by skin prick test and 88% by serum specific IgE evaluation.
Conclusion: Our results showed that cow's milk, hen's egg and tree nuts were the most common food allergens in Iranian children with atopic dermatitis. Sensitization to foods was much higher in patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. Determining specific IgE in children with atopic dermatitis can be helpful in managing these patients.