Food allergy: A Review
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© 2015 Pediartric Infections Research Center. Context: Food allergy is a growing health problem. Avoidance of the food allergen is the only accepted treatment. Because the major food allergens are among the most commonly used foods including cow’s milk, egg, nuts, wheat, soya, fish, and seafood, avoiding them is difficult and might negatively affect the patients’ and their families’ health. Evidence Acquisition: This brief review concerns the prevalence, importance, definition, types, clinical symptoms, diagnosis, and management of food allergy. The information were retrieved searching a wide range of published data, especially in PubMed, from January 2000 through July 2014. Results: Food allergies are mainly classified into IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated; the latter is classified into cell-mediated, and mixed IgE-non-IgE-mediated food allergy. Medical history can provide detailed information essential to make the diagnosis. The current approach to the management of food allergy substantially relies on allergen avoidance and prescriptions to treat allergic reactions. Conclusions: The characteristic features of IgE-mediated food allergy are abrupt onset of clinical symptoms, which may result in a life-threatening events, and positive results of the majority of the paraclinical tests that mainly trace the specific IgE to foods. Moreover, non–IgE-mediated food allergies present as chronic diseases and due to lack of proper diagnostic tests the similarity of the clinical presentation with other chronic clinical conditions, the exact prevalence may remain underestimated.