[Food allergy in childhood]

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2016 Jun;59(6):732-6. doi: 10.1007/s00103-016-2353-4.
[Article in German]

Abstract

IgE-mediated immediate type reactions are the most common form of food allergy in childhood. Primary (often in early childhood) and secondary (often pollen-associated) allergies can be distinguished by their level of severity. Hen's egg, cow's milk and peanut are the most common elicitors of primary food allergy. Tolerance development in hen's egg and cow's milk allergy happens frequently whereas peanut allergy tends toward a lifelong disease. For the diagnostic patient history, detection of sensitization and (in many cases) oral food challenges are necessary. Especially in peanut and hazelnut allergy component-resolves diagnostic (measurement of specific IgE to individual allergens, e. g. Ara h 2) seem to be helpful. In regard to therapy elimination diet is still the only approved approach. Patient education through dieticians is extremely helpful in this regard. Patients at risk for anaphylactic reactions need to carry emergency medications including an adrenaline auto-injector. Instruction on the usage of the adrenaline auto-injector should take place and a written management plan handed to the patient. Moreover, patients or caregivers should be encouraged to attending a structured educational intervention on knowledge and emergency management. In parallel, causal therapeutic options such as oral, sublingual or epicutaneous immunotherapies are currently under development. In regard to prevention of food allergy current guidelines no longer advise to avoid highly allergenic foods. Current intervention studies are investigating wether early introduction of highly allergic foods is effective and safe to prevent food allergy. It was recently shown that peanut introduction between 4 and 11 months of age in infants with severe atopic dermatitis and/or hen's egg allergy (if they are not already peanut allergic) prevents peanut allergy in a country with high prevalence.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis; Diagnostic; Food hypersensitivity; Immunotherapy; Prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis*
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diet Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome