Explore 5-Minute Clinical Consult - view these FREE monographs:
-- The first section of this topic is shown below --
- Hypersensitivity reaction caused by certain foods
- System(s) affected: Gastrointestinal; Hemic/Lymphatic/Immunologic; Pulmonary; Skin/Exocrine
- Synonym(s): Allergic bowel disease; Dietary protein-sensitivity syndrome
- Predominant age: All ages, but more common in infants and children
- Predominant sex: Male > Female (2:1)
- The prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergy is likely 1–2% in the US (2,3)[A].
- In young children, the most common food allergies are cow’s milk (2.5%), egg (1.3%), peanut (0.8%), and wheat (0.4%).
- Adults tend to have allergies to shellfish (2%), peanut (0.6%), tree nuts (0.5%), and fish (0.4%) (3)[B].
- In general, only 3–4% of children >4 years have persisting food allergy; it is frequently a transient phenomenon.
- 20% of children with peanut-protein allergy outgrow their sensitivity by school age (3,4)[B].
- Persons with allergic or atopic predisposition have increased risk of hypersensitivity reaction to food.
- Family history of food hypersensitivity
In family members with a history of food hypersensitivity, the probability of food allergy in subsequent siblings may be as high as 50%.
Avoidance of offending food
Allergic response owing to immunologic mechanisms, such as the classic IgE-allergic response or nonimmunologic-mediated mechanisms
- Any food or ingested substance can cause allergic reactions:
- Most commonly implicated foods include cow’s milk, egg whites, wheat, soy, peanuts, fish, tree nuts (walnut and pecan), and shellfish
- Several food dyes and additives may elicit allergic like reactions.