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1.  Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States 
Food allergy is an important public health problem that affects children and adults and may be increasing in prevalence. Despite the risk of severe allergic reactions and even death, there is no current treatment for food allergy: the disease can only be managed by allergen avoidance or treatment of symptoms. The diagnosis and management of food allergy also may vary from one clinical practice setting to another. Finally, because patients frequently confuse nonallergic food reactions, such as food intolerance, with food allergies, there is an unfounded belief among the public that food allergy prevalence is higher than it truly is. In response to these concerns, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, working with 34 professional organizations, federal agencies, and patient advocacy groups, led the development of clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy. These Guidelines are intended for use by a wide variety of health care professionals, including family practice physicians, clinical specialists, and nurse practitioners. The Guidelines include a consensus definition for food allergy, discuss comorbid conditions often associated with food allergy, and focus on both IgE-mediated and non-IgE-mediated reactions to food. Topics addressed include the epidemiology, natural history, diagnosis, and management of food allergy, as well as the management of severe symptoms and anaphylaxis. These Guidelines provide 43 concise clinical recommendations and additional guidance on points of current controversy in patient management. They also identify gaps in the current scientific knowledge to be addressed through future research.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2010.10.007
PMCID: PMC4241964  PMID: 21134576
food; allergy; anaphylaxis; diagnosis; disease management; guidelines
2.  Diagnosis and management of non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy in infancy - a UK primary care practical guide 
The UK NICE guideline on the Diagnosis and Assessment of Food Allergy in Children and Young People was published in 2011, highlighting the important role of primary care physicians, dietitians, nurses and other community based health care professionals in the diagnosis and assessment of IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies in children. The guideline suggests that those with suspected IgE-mediated disease and those suspected to suffer from severe non-IgE-mediated disease are referred on to secondary or tertiary level care. What is evident from this guideline is that the responsibility for the diagnostic food challenge, ongoing management and determining of tolerance to cow’s milk in children with less severe non-IgE-mediated food allergies is ultimately that of the primary care/community based health care staff, but this discussion fell outside of the current NICE guideline. Some clinical members of the guideline development group (CV, JW, ATF, TB) therefore felt that there was a particular need to extend this into a more practical guideline for cow’s milk allergy. This subset of the guideline development group with the additional expertise of a paediatric gastroenterologist (NS) therefore aimed to produce a UK Primary Care Guideline for the initial clinical recognition of all forms of cow’s milk allergy and the ongoing management of those with non-severe non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy in the form of algorithms. These algorithms will be discussed in this review paper, drawing on guidance primarily from the UK NICE guideline, but also from the DRACMA guidelines, ESPGHAN guidelines, Australian guidelines and the US NIAID guidelines.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-3-23
PMCID: PMC3716921  PMID: 23835522
Cow’s milk allergy; Primary care; Food allergy; Diagnosis; Management; Hypoallergenic formula
3.  The acute and long-term management of food allergy: protocol for a rapid systematic review 
Background
Allergic reactions to plant and animal derived food allergens can have serious consequences for sufferers and their families. The associated social, emotional and financial costs make it a priority to understand the best ways of managing such immune-mediated hypersensitivity responses. Conceptually, there are two main approaches to managing food allergy: those targeting immediate symptoms and those aiming to support long-term management of the condition. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is developing guidelines about what constitutes an effective treatment for food allergies. As part of the guidelines development process, a systematic review is planned to examine published research about the management of food allergy in adults and children.
Methods
Seven bibliographic databases were searched from their inception to September 30, 2012 for systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, quasi-randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, controlled before-and-after studies and interrupted time series. Experts were consulted for additional studies. There were no language or geographic restrictions. Studies were critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program and Cochrane EPOC Risk of Bias tools. Only studies where people had a diagnosis of food allergy or reported a history of food allergy were included. This means that many studies of conditions that may be caused by food allergy are omitted, because only research in people with an explicit diagnosis or history was eligible.
Discussion
Many initiatives have been tested to treat the immediate symptoms of food allergy (acute management) and to deal with longer lasting symptoms or induce tolerability to potential allergens (long-term management). The best management strategies for people with food allergy are likely to depend on the type of allergy, symptom manifestations and age. There is a real need to increase the amount of high quality research devoted to treatment strategies for food allergy. Food allergy can be debilitating and is affecting an increasing number of children and adults. With such little known about how to effectively manage the condition and its manifestations, this appears a priority for future research.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-3-12
PMCID: PMC3637062  PMID: 23547741
Food allergy; LgE-mediated; Management; Treatment
4.  Nutritional management and follow up of infants and children with food allergy: Italian Society of Pediatric Nutrition/Italian Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Task Force Position Statement 
Although the guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of food allergy recognize the role of nutrition, there is few literature on the practical issues concerning the nutritional management of children with food allergies.
This Consensus Position Statement focuses on the nutritional management and follow-up of infants and children with food allergy.
It provides practical advices for the management of children on exclusion diet and it represents an evidence-based consensus on nutritional intervention and follow-up of infants and children with food allergy.
Children with food allergies have poor growth compared to non-affected subjects directly proportional to the quantity of foods excluded and the duration of the diet. Nutritional intervention, if properly planned and properly monitored, has proven to be an effective mean to substantiate a recovery in growth.
Nutritional intervention depends on the subject’s nutritional status at the time of the diagnosis.
The assessment of the nutritional status of children with food allergies should follow a diagnostic pathway that involves a series of successive steps, beginning from the collection of a detailed diet-history.
It is essential that children following an exclusion diet are followed up regularly.
The periodic re-evaluation of the child is needed to assess the nutritional needs, changing with the age, and the compliance to the diet.
The follow- up plan should be established on the basis of the age of the child and following the growth pattern.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-40-1
PMCID: PMC3914356  PMID: 24386882
Food allergy; Nutritional status; Dietary intake; Cow's milk allergy; Follow-up
5.  Research needs in allergy: an EAACI position paper, in collaboration with EFA 
Papadopoulos, Nikolaos G | Agache, Ioana | Bavbek, Sevim | Bilo, Beatrice M | Braido, Fulvio | Cardona, Victoria | Custovic, Adnan | deMonchy, Jan | Demoly, Pascal | Eigenmann, Philippe | Gayraud, Jacques | Grattan, Clive | Heffler, Enrico | Hellings, Peter W | Jutel, Marek | Knol, Edward | Lötvall, Jan | Muraro, Antonella | Poulsen, Lars K | Roberts, Graham | Schmid-Grendelmeier, Peter | Skevaki, Chrysanthi | Triggiani, Massimo | vanRee, Ronald | Werfel, Thomas | Flood, Breda | Palkonen, Susanna | Savli, Roberta | Allegri, Pia | Annesi-Maesano, Isabella | Annunziato, Francesco | Antolin-Amerigo, Dario | Apfelbacher, Christian | Blanca, Miguel | Bogacka, Ewa | Bonadonna, Patrizia | Bonini, Matteo | Boyman, Onur | Brockow, Knut | Burney, Peter | Buters, Jeroen | Butiene, Indre | Calderon, Moises | Cardell, Lars Olaf | Caubet, Jean-Christoph | Celenk, Sevcan | Cichocka-Jarosz, Ewa | Cingi, Cemal | Couto, Mariana | deJong, Nicolette | Del Giacco, Stefano | Douladiris, Nikolaos | Fassio, Filippo | Fauquert, Jean-Luc | Fernandez, Javier | Rivas, Montserrat Fernandez | Ferrer, Marta | Flohr, Carsten | Gardner, James | Genuneit, Jon | Gevaert, Philippe | Groblewska, Anna | Hamelmann, Eckard | Hoffmann, Hans Jürgen | Hoffmann-Sommergruber, Karin | Hovhannisyan, Lilit | Hox, Valérie | Jahnsen, Frode L | Kalayci, Ömer | Kalpaklioglu, Ayse Füsun | Kleine-Tebbe, Jörg | Konstantinou, George | Kurowski, Marcin | Lau, Susanne | Lauener, Roger | Lauerma, Antti | Logan, Kirsty | Magnan, Antoine | Makowska, Joanna | Makrinioti, Heidi | Mangina, Paraskevi | Manole, Felicia | Mari, Adriano | Mazon, Angel | Mills, Clare | Mingomataj, ErvinÇ | Niggemann, Bodo | Nilsson, Gunnar | Ollert, Markus | O'Mahony, Liam | O'Neil, Serena | Pala, Gianni | Papi, Alberto | Passalacqua, Gianni | Perkin, Michael | Pfaar, Oliver | Pitsios, Constantinos | Quirce, Santiago | Raap, Ulrike | Raulf-Heimsoth, Monika | Rhyner, Claudio | Robson-Ansley, Paula | Alves, Rodrigo Rodrigues | Roje, Zeljka | Rondon, Carmen | Rudzeviciene, Odilija | Ruëff, Franziska | Rukhadze, Maia | Rumi, Gabriele | Sackesen, Cansin | Santos, Alexandra F | Santucci, Annalisa | Scharf, Christian | Schmidt-Weber, Carsten | Schnyder, Benno | Schwarze, Jürgen | Senna, Gianenrico | Sergejeva, Svetlana | Seys, Sven | Siracusa, Andrea | Skypala, Isabel | Sokolowska, Milena | Spertini, Francois | Spiewak, Radoslaw | Sprikkelman, Aline | Sturm, Gunter | Swoboda, Ines | Terreehorst, Ingrid | Toskala, Elina | Traidl-Hoffmann, Claudia | Venter, Carina | Vlieg-Boerstra, Berber | Whitacker, Paul | Worm, Margitta | Xepapadaki, Paraskevi | Akdis, Cezmi A
In less than half a century, allergy, originally perceived as a rare disease, has become a major public health threat, today affecting the lives of more than 60 million people in Europe, and probably close to one billion worldwide, thereby heavily impacting the budgets of public health systems. More disturbingly, its prevalence and impact are on the rise, a development that has been associated with environmental and lifestyle changes accompanying the continuous process of urbanization and globalization. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prioritize and concert research efforts in the field of allergy, in order to achieve sustainable results on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this most prevalent chronic disease of the 21st century.
The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is the leading professional organization in the field of allergy, promoting excellence in clinical care, education, training and basic and translational research, all with the ultimate goal of improving the health of allergic patients. The European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) is a non-profit network of allergy, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) patients’ organizations. In support of their missions, the present EAACI Position Paper, in collaboration with EFA, highlights the most important research needs in the field of allergy to serve as key recommendations for future research funding at the national and European levels.
Although allergies may involve almost every organ of the body and an array of diverse external factors act as triggers, there are several common themes that need to be prioritized in research efforts. As in many other chronic diseases, effective prevention, curative treatment and accurate, rapid diagnosis represent major unmet needs. Detailed phenotyping/endotyping stands out as widely required in order to arrange or re-categorize clinical syndromes into more coherent, uniform and treatment-responsive groups. Research efforts to unveil the basic pathophysiologic pathways and mechanisms, thus leading to the comprehension and resolution of the pathophysiologic complexity of allergies will allow for the design of novel patient-oriented diagnostic and treatment protocols. Several allergic diseases require well-controlled epidemiological description and surveillance, using disease registries, pharmacoeconomic evaluation, as well as large biobanks. Additionally, there is a need for extensive studies to bring promising new biotechnological innovations, such as biological agents, vaccines of modified allergen molecules and engineered components for allergy diagnosis, closer to clinical practice. Finally, particular attention should be paid to the difficult-to-manage, precarious and costly severe disease forms and/or exacerbations. Nonetheless, currently arising treatments, mainly in the fields of immunotherapy and biologicals, hold great promise for targeted and causal management of allergic conditions. Active involvement of all stakeholders, including Patient Organizations and policy makers are necessary to achieve the aims emphasized herein.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-2-21
PMCID: PMC3539924  PMID: 23121771
Allergy; Allergic diseases; Policy; Research needs; Research funding; Europe
6.  The effects of elimination diet on nutritional status in subjects with atopic dermatitis 
Nutrition Research and Practice  2013;7(6):488-494.
A food allergy is an adverse health effect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly upon exposure to a given food. In those with food allergies that are thought to cause aggravation of eczema, food avoidance is important. The objective of this study was to research the nutritional status of patients with food allergies. A total of 225 subjects diagnosed with atopic dermatitis underwent a skin prick test as well as measurement of serum immunoglobulin E. Food challenge tests were conducted using seven food items: milk, eggs, wheat, soybeans, beef, pork, and chicken. At post-food challenge visits to the test clinic, participants completed a three-day dietary record, which included two week days and one weekend day, in order to evaluate energy intake and diet quality during the challenge. We analyzed nutrient intake based on differential food allergens. Subjects with a food allergy to milk showed lower intake of Ca, Zn, and vitamin B2, and subjects with a food allergy to egg showed lower intake of vitamin A, B1, B2, niacin, and cholesterol. Subjects with a food allergy to wheat and soybean showed lower intake of Ca, P, Fe, K, Zn, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and niacin; and subjects with a food allergy to beef, pork, and chicken showed lower intake of Fe and higher intake of K, vitamin A, B2. Subjects with atopic dermatitis were lacking in several nutrients, including vitamin A and vitamin C. A greater number of food allergies showed an association with a greater number of nutrient intake deficiencies. Allergen avoidance is the basic treatment for atopic dermatitis. However, when the allergen is food, excessive restriction can lead to nutrition deficiency. Findings of this study suggest the necessity for enhanced nutritional education in order to provide substitute foods for patients with food allergies who practice food restriction.
doi:10.4162/nrp.2013.7.6.488
PMCID: PMC3865272  PMID: 24353835
Food allergy; atopic dermatitis; food restriction
7.  Referrals to a regional allergy clinic - an eleven year audit 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:790.
Background
Allergy is a serious and apparently increasing public health problem yet relatively little is known about the types of allergy seen in routine tertiary practice, including their spatial distribution, co-occurrence or referral patterns. This study reviewed referrals over an eleven year period to a regional allergy clinic that had a well defined geographical boundary. For those patients confirmed as having an allergy we explored: (i) differences over time and by demographics, (ii) types of allergy, (iii) co-occurrence, and (iv) spatial distributions.
Methods
Data were extracted from consultant letters to GPs, from September 1998 to September 2009, for patients confirmed as having an allergy. Other data included referral statistics and population data by postcode. Simple descriptive analysis was used to describe types of allergy. We calculated 11 year standardised morbidity ratios for postcode districts and checked for spatial clustering. We present maps showing 11 year rates by postcode, and 'difference' maps which try to separate referral effect from possible environmental effect.
Results
Of 5778 referrals, 961 patients were diagnosed with an allergy. These were referred by a total of 672 different GPs. There were marked differences in referral patterns between GP practices and also individual GPs. The mean age of patients was 35 and there were considerably more females (65%) than males. Airborne allergies were the most frequent (623), and there were very high rates of co-occurrence of pollen, house dust mite, and animal hair allergies. Less than half (410) patients had a food allergy, with nuts, fruit, and seafood being the most common allergens. Fifteen percent (142) had both a food and a non-food allergy. Certain food allergies were more likely to co-occur, for example, patients allergic to dairy products were more likely to be allergic to egg.
There were age differences by types of allergy; people referred with food allergies were on average 5 years younger than those with other allergies, and those allergic to nuts were much younger (26 Vs 38) than those with other food allergies.
There was clear evidence for spatial clustering with marked clustering around the referral hospital. However, the geographical distribution varied between allergies; airborne (particularly pollen allergies) clustered in North Dartmoor and Exmoor, food allergies (particularly nut allergies) in the South Hams, and on small numbers, some indication of seafood allergy in the far south west of Cornwall and in the Padstow area.
Conclusions
This study shows marked geographical differences in allergy referrals which are likely to reflect a combination of environmental factors and GP referral patterns. The data suggest that GPs may benefit from education and ongoing decision support and be supported by public education on the nature of allergy. It suggests further research into what happens to patients with allergy where there has been low use of tertiary services and further research into cross-reactivity and co-occurrence, and spatial distribution of allergy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-790
PMCID: PMC3022859  PMID: 21190546
8.  Food allergy knowledge, attitudes and beliefs: Focus groups of parents, physicians and the general public 
BMC Pediatrics  2008;8:36.
Background
Food allergy prevalence is increasing in US children. Presently, the primary means of preventing potentially fatal reactions are avoidance of allergens, prompt recognition of food allergy reactions, and knowledge about food allergy reaction treatments. Focus groups were held as a preliminary step in the development of validated survey instruments to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents, physicians, and the general public.
Methods
Eight focus groups were conducted between January and July of 2006 in the Chicago area with parents of children with food allergy (3 groups), physicians (3 groups), and the general public (2 groups). A constant comparative method was used to identify the emerging themes which were then grouped into key domains of food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs.
Results
Parents of children with food allergy had solid fundamental knowledge but had concerns about primary care physicians' knowledge of food allergy, diagnostic approaches, and treatment practices. The considerable impact of children's food allergies on familial quality of life was articulated. Physicians had good basic knowledge of food allergy but differed in their approach to diagnosis and advice about starting solids and breastfeeding. The general public had wide variation in knowledge about food allergy with many misconceptions of key concepts related to prevalence, definition, and triggers of food allergy.
Conclusion
Appreciable food allergy knowledge gaps exist, especially among physicians and the general public. The quality of life for children with food allergy and their families is significantly affected.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-8-36
PMCID: PMC2564918  PMID: 18803842
9.  Diagnosis of food allergies: the impact of oral food challenge testing 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2013;3(1):59-69.
A diagnosis of food allergies should be made based on the observation of allergic symptoms following the intake of suspected foods and the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies. The oral food challenge (OFC) test is the most reliable clinical procedure for diagnosing food allergies. Specific IgE testing of allergen components as well as classical crude allergen extracts helps to make a more specific diagnosis of food allergies. The Japanese Society of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology issued the 'Japanese Pediatric Guideline for Food Allergy 2012' to provide information regarding the standardized diagnosis and management of food allergies. This review summarizes recent progress in the diagnosis of food allergies, focusing on the use of specific IgE tests and the OFC procedure in accordance with the Japanese guidelines.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2013.3.1.59
PMCID: PMC3563023  PMID: 23404053
Food hypersensitivity; Immunoglobulin E; Oral food challenge
10.  Frequently asked questions in allergy practice 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2014;4(1):48-53.
Background
Over the last 10-20 years, international guidelines and consensus statements for the management of common allergic diseases (e.g. allergic rhinitis and asthma) have been developed and disseminated worldwide. However, their impact on knowledge and standard of clinical practice among primary care physicians and specialists is unknown.
Objective
To investigate need for an improvement in the dissemination of international guidelines for the diagnosis and management of allergic rhinitis.
Methods
Seven medical students who attended 3-day 1st International Basic Allergy Course (2010) took down all questions raised during the entire course. A systemic analysis of these questions was performed to identify areas for improvement in diagnosis and management of allergic diseases mainly in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.
Results
268 participants, 143 males and 125 females, comprising Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists (n = 106) and trainees (n = 34), general practitioners (n = 87), and other healthcare professionals (n = 41) attended the course. Of the 103 questions recorded, 59 were regarding treatment modalities in allergy practice such as immunotherapy (n = 38), pharmacologics (n = 15), nasal surgery (n = 2), and others (n = 4). 41 questions (39.8%) have answers based in the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma guidelines (2001 and 2008). Certain questions were selected for further analysis because they appeared to be (a) more commonly asked (e.g. immunotherapy) or (b) were deemed to be challenging or, even controversial (e.g. food allergy and differential diagnosis between vasovagal and anaphylaxis reaction), as the recommendations in current international guidelines were less well-defined.
Conclusion
Our study identified several problems that, if tackled, could help minimize confusion and provide better care for patients suffering from allergic diseases especially in the ASEAN region.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2014.4.1.48
PMCID: PMC3921870  PMID: 24527411
Allergic diseases; International guidelines; Management; Immunotherapy; Vasovagal and anaphylaxis reaction; Food allergy
11.  Health-related quality of life, assessed with a disease-specific questionnaire, in Swedish adults suffering from well-diagnosed food allergy to staple foods 
Background
Our aim was to investigate the factors that affect health related quality of life (HRQL) in adult Swedish food allergic patients objectively diagnosed with allergy to at least one of the staple foods cow’s milk, hen’s egg or wheat. The number of foods involved, the type and severity of symptoms, as well as concomitant allergic disorders were assessed.
Methods
The disease-specific food allergy quality of life questionnaire (FAQLQ-AF), developed within EuroPrevall, was utilized. The questionnaire had four domains: Allergen Avoidance and Dietary Restrictions (AADR), Emotional Impact (EI), Risk of Accidental Exposure (RAE) and Food Allergy related Health (FAH). Comparisons were made with the outcome of the generic questionnaire EuroQol Health Questionnaire, 5 Dimensions (EQ-5D). The patients were recruited at an outpatient allergy clinic, based on a convincing history of food allergy supplemented by analysis of specific IgE to the foods in question. Seventy-nine patients participated (28 males, 51 females, mean-age 41 years).
Results
The domain with the most negative impact on HRQL was AADR, assessing the patients’ experience of dietary restrictions. The domain with the least negative impact on HRQL was FAH, relating to health concerns due to the food allergy. One third of the patients had four concomitant allergic disorders, which had a negative impact on HRQL. Furthermore, asthma in combination with food allergy had a strong impact. Anaphylaxis, and particularly prescription of an epinephrine auto-injector, was associated with low HRQL. These effects were not seen using EQ-5D. Analyses of the symptoms revealed that oral allergy syndrome and cardiovascular symptoms had the greatest impact on HRQL. In contrast, no significant effect on HRQL was seen by the number of food allergies.
Conclusions
The FAQLQ-AF is a valid instrument, and more accurate among patients with allergy to staple foods in comparison to the commonly used generic EQ-5D. It adds important information on HRQL in food allergic adults. We found that the restrictions imposed on the patients due to the diet had the largest negative impact on HRQL. Both severity of the food allergy and the presence of concomitant allergic disorders had a profound impact on HRQL.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-3-21
PMCID: PMC3702411  PMID: 23816063
Food allergy; Adults; Health-related quality of life; Instrument; Questionnaire
12.  Food allergy in gastroenterologic diseases: Review of literature 
Food allergy is a common and increasing problem worldwide. The newly-found knowledge might provide novel experimental strategies, especially for laboratory diagnosis. Approximately 20% of the population alters their diet for a perceived adverse reaction to food, but the application of double-blind placebo-controlled oral food challenge, the “gold standard” for diagnosis of food allergy, shows that questionnaire-based studies overestimate the prevalence of food allergies. The clinical disorders determined by adverse reactions to food can be classified on the basis of immunologic or nonimmunologic mechanisms and the organ system or systems affected. Diagnosis of food allergy is based on clinical history, skin prick tests, and laboratory tests to detect serum-food specific IgE, elimination diets and challenges. The primary therapy for food allergy is to avoid the responsible food. Antihistamines might partially relieve oral allergy syndrome and IgE-mediated skin symptoms, but they do not block systemic reactions. Systemic corticosteroids are generally effective in treating chronic IgE-mediated disorders. Epinephrine is the mainstay of treatment for anaphylaxis. Experimental therapies for IgE-mediated food allergy have been evaluated, such as humanized IgG anti-IgE antibodies and allergen specific immunotherapy.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v12.i48.7744
PMCID: PMC4087536  PMID: 17203514
Food intolerance; Food allergy; Skin prick test; Serum food-specific IgE; Oral food challenges
13.  Impact of primary food allergies on the introduction of other foods amongst Canadian children and their siblings 
Background
Food-allergic children frequently avoid other highly allergenic foods. The NIAID 2010 guidelines state that individuals with an IgE-mediated food allergy should avoid their specific allergens and physicians should help patients to decide whether certain cross-reactive foods also should be avoided. Patients at risk for developing food allergy do not need to limit exposure to foods that may be cross-reactive with the major food allergens. The purpose of this study was to determine if parents of food-allergic children are given advice regarding introduction of allergenic foods; if these foods are avoided or delayed; if there is anxiety when introducing new foods; and if introducing other allergenic foods leads to any allergic reaction. The study also determined if there was a similar pattern seen amongst younger siblings.
Methods
An online survey was administered between December 2011 and March 2012 via Anaphylaxis Canada’s website, available to Canadian parents and caregivers who are registered members of the organization and who have a child with a food allergy.
Results
644 parents completed the online survey. 51% of families were given advice regarding the introduction of other allergenic foods. 72% were told to avoid certain foods, and 41% to delay certain foods. 58% of parents did avoid or delay other highly allergenic foods, mainly due to a fear of allergic reaction. 69% of children did not have an allergic reaction when these foods were subsequently introduced. 68% of parents felt moderate or high levels of anxiety when introducing other foods. A similar pattern was seen amongst the younger siblings.
Conclusions
Canadian parents and caregivers of children with food allergies receive varied advice from health care professionals regarding the introduction of new allergenic foods, and feel moderate to high levels of anxiety. A similar pattern may be seen amongst younger siblings. While the majority of children in our study did not have an allergic reaction to a new food, a significant proportion of children did react. A more consistent approach to the advice given by health care professionals may decrease parental anxiety. Further research to support the 2010 NIAID guidelines may be necessary to clarify recommendations.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-10-26
PMCID: PMC4063690  PMID: 24949023
Food allergy; Siblings; Food introduction; Anxiety
14.  Middle East Consensus Statement on the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Cow's Milk Protein Allergy 
Presented are guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA) which is the most common food allergy in infants. It manifests through a variety of symptoms that place a burden on both the infant and their caregivers. The guidelines were formulated by evaluation of existing evidence-based guidelines, literature evidence and expert clinical experience. The guidelines set out practical recommendations and include algorithms for the prevention and treatment of CMPA. For infants at risk of allergy, appropriate prevention diets are suggested. Breastfeeding is the best method for prevention; however, a partially hydrolyzed formula should be used in infants unable to be breastfed. In infants with suspected CMPA, guidelines are presented for the appropriate diagnostic workup and subsequent appropriate elimination diet for treatment. Exclusive breastfeeding and maternal dietary allergen avoidance are the best treatment. In infants not exclusively breastfed, an extensively hydrolyzed formula should be used with amino acid formula recommended if the symptoms are life-threatening or do not resolve after extensively hydrolyzed formula. Adherence to these guidelines should assist healthcare practitioners in optimizing their approach to the management of CMPA and decrease the burden on infants and their caregivers.
doi:10.5223/pghn.2014.17.2.61
PMCID: PMC4107222  PMID: 25061580
Allergy and immunology; Breast feeding; Hypersensitivity; Infant formula; Milk hypersensitivity
15.  Food allergy 
Food allergy is defined as an adverse immunologic response to a dietary protein. Food-related reactions are associated with a broad array of signs and symptoms that may involve many bodily systems including the skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, and cardiovascular system. Food allergy is a leading cause of anaphylaxis and, therefore, referral to an allergist for appropriate and timely diagnosis and treatment is imperative. Diagnosis involves a careful history and diagnostic tests, such as skin prick testing, serum-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing and, if indicated, oral food challenges. Once the diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed, strict elimination of the offending food allergen from the diet is generally necessary. For patients with significant systemic symptoms, the treatment of choice is epinephrine administered by intramuscular injection into the lateral thigh. Although most children “outgrow” allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat, allergies to peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are often lifelong. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, management and prognosis of patients with food allergy.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-S1-S7
PMCID: PMC3245440  PMID: 22166142
16.  Nutritional Aspects in Diagnosis and Management of Food Hypersensitivity—The Dietitians Role 
Journal of Allergy  2012;2012:269376.
Many common foods including cow's milk, hen's egg, soya, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and wheat may cause food allergies. The prevalence of these immune-mediated adverse reactions to foods ranges from 0.5% to 9% in different populations. In simple terms, the cornerstone of managing food allergy is to avoid consumption of foods causing symptoms and to replace them with nutritionally equivalent foods. If poorly managed, food allergy impairs quality of life more than necessary, affects normal growth in children, and causes an additional economic burden to society. Delay in diagnosis may be a further incremental factor. Thus, an increased awareness of the appropriate procedures for both diagnosis and management is of importance. This paper sets out to present principles for taking an allergy-focused diet history as part of the diagnostic work-up of food allergy. A short overview of guidelines and principles for dietary management of food allergy is discussed focusing on the nutritional management of food allergies and the particular role of the dietitian in this process.
doi:10.1155/2012/269376
PMCID: PMC3485989  PMID: 23150738
17.  Manifestations of food protein induced gastrointestinal allergies presenting to a single tertiary paediatric gastroenterology unit 
Background
Food protein induced gastrointestinal allergies are difficult to characterise due to the delayed nature of this allergy and absence of simple diagnostic tests. Diagnosis is based on an allergy focused history which can be challenging and often yields ambiguous results. We therefore set out to describe a group of children with this delayed type allergy, to provide an overview on typical profile, symptoms and management strategies.
Methods
This retrospective analysis was performed at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Medical notes were included from 2002 – 2009 where a documented medical diagnosis of food protein induced gastrointestinal allergies was confirmed by an elimination diet with resolution of symptoms, followed by reintroduction with reoccurrence of symptoms. Age of onset of symptoms, diagnosis, current elimination diets and food elimination at time of diagnosis and co-morbidities were collected and parents were phoned again at the time of data collection to ascertain current allergy status.
Results
Data from 437 children were analysis. The majority (67.7%) of children had an atopic family history and 41.5% had atopic dermatitis at an early age. The most common diagnosis included, non-IgE mediated gastrointestinal food allergy (n = 189) and allergic enterocolitis (n = 154) with symptoms of: vomiting (57.8%), back-arching and screaming (50%), constipation (44.6%), diarrhoea (81%), abdominal pain (89.9%), abdominal bloating (73.9%) and rectal bleeding (38.5%). The majority of patients were initially managed with a milk, soy, egg and wheat free diet (41.7%). At a median age of 8 years, 24.7% of children still required to eliminate some of the food allergens.
Conclusions
This large retrospective study on children with food induced gastrointestinal allergies highlights the variety of symptoms and treatment modalities used in these children. However, further prospective studies are required in this area of food allergy.
doi:10.1186/1939-4551-6-13
PMCID: PMC3828665  PMID: 23919257
18.  Cow’s milk allergy: evidence-based diagnosis and management for the practitioner 
European Journal of Pediatrics  2014;174:141-150.
This review summarizes current evidence and recommendations regarding cow’s milk allergy (CMA), the most common food allergy in young children, for the primary and secondary care providers. The diagnostic approach includes performing a medical history, physical examination, diagnostic elimination diets, skin prick tests, specific IgE measurements, and oral food challenges. Strict avoidance of the offending allergen is the only therapeutic option. Oral immunotherapy is being studied, but it is not yet recommended for routine clinical practice. For primary prevention of allergy, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months and up to 6 months is desirable. Infants with a documented hereditary risk of allergy (i.e., an affected parent and/or sibling) who cannot be breastfed exclusively should receive a formula with confirmed reduced allergenicity, i.e., a partially or extensively hydrolyzed formula, as a means of preventing allergic reactions, primarily atopic dermatitis. Avoidance or delayed introduction of solid foods beyond 4–6 months for allergy prevention is not recommended.
Conclusion: For all of those involved in taking care of children’s health, it is important to understand the multifaceted aspects of CMA, such as its epidemiology, presentation, diagnosis, and dietary management, as well as its primary prevention.
doi:10.1007/s00431-014-2422-3
PMCID: PMC4298661  PMID: 25257836
Allergy; Children; Infants; Pediatrics
19.  IgE mediated food allergy in Korean children: focused on plant food allergy 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2013;3(1):15-22.
Food allergy (FA) is a worldwide problem, with increasing prevalence in many countries, and it poses a clearly increasing health problem in Korea. In Korea, as a part of International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC), a series of nation-wide population studies for prevalence of allergic disease in children were carried out, with the Korean version of ISAAC in 1995, 2000, and 2010. From the survey, the twelve-month prevalence of FA showed no significant differences from 1995 to 2000 in both age groups (6-12 years-old, 6.5% in 1995 and 5.7% in 2000; 12-15 year-olds, 7.4% in 1995 and 8.6% in 2000). The mean lifetime prevalence of FA which had ever been diagnosed by medical doctor was 4.7% in 6-12 year-olds and 5.1% in 12-15 year-olds respectively in 2000. In Korean children, the major causes of FA are almost same as in other countries, although the order prevalence may vary, a prime example of which being that peanut and tree nut allergies are not prevalent, as in western countries. Both pediatric emergency department (ED) visits and deaths relating to food induced anaphylaxis have also increased in western countries. From a study which based on data from the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (KHIRA) from 2001 to 2007, the incidence of anaphylaxis under the age of 19 was 0.7-1 per 100,000 person-year, and foods (24.9%) were the most commonly identified cause of childhood anaphylaxis. In another epidemiologic study, involving 78889 patients aged 0-18 years who visited the EDs of 9 hospitals during June 2008 to Mar 2009, the incidence of food related anaphylaxis was 4.56 per 10,000 pediatric ED visits. From these studies, common causes of food related anaphylaxis were seafood, buckwheat, cow's milk, fruits, peanut and tree nuts. Although systematic epidemiologic studies have not reported on the matter, recently, plant foods related allergy has increased in Korean children. Among 804 children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, we reveals that the peanut sensitization rate in Korea reaches 18%, and that, when sensitized to peanut, patients showed a significant tendency to have co-sensitization with house dust mites, egg white, wheat, and soybean. The higher specific IgE to peanut was related to the likelihood of the patient developing severe systemic reactions. In another study, based on the data analysis of 69 patients under 4 years of age who had suspected peanut and tree nut allergy, 22 (31.9%) were sensitized to walnut (>0.35 kU/L, 0.45-27.4 kU/L) and 6 (8.7%) experienced anaphylaxis due to a small amount of walnut exposure. Furthermore, in this review, clinical and immunological studies on plant food allergies, such as buckwheat allergy, rice allergy, barley allergy, and kiwi fruit allergy, in Korean children are discussed.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2013.3.1.15
PMCID: PMC3563016  PMID: 23403730
Food allergy; Korean children; Anaphylaxis; Plant food allergy
20.  496 Cross Sectional Study of 1,822 Pediatric Food Allergy Patients 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S174-S175.
Background
The aim of this study is to clarify the cross section of pediatric food allergy patients. We investigated the profiles of food allergy (FA) patients seen in our department.
Methods
The number of food allergy patients seen in our department from January to December in 2010 was a total of 1,822 (male: 1207, female: 615, mean age: 5.8 ± 3.8 year). We collected and analyzed the clinical information of these patients from our medical record. We obtained information on the age of FA onset & FA diagnosis, clinical types of FA at the onset, causative food allergens, other allergic complications, and application of oral immunotherapy (OIT).
Results
The average age of FA onset was 8 months, and that of diagnosis was 1 year old, respectively. The most common clinical types of FA at the time of onset were infantile atopic dermatitis (AD) type with food allergy (66.4%) followed by immediate type (30.8%). Food allergens avoided by the patients were the total number of 4,203 items (2.1 items as average). The most common eliminated food was hen's egg (1,245 cases; 29.6%), followed by cow's milk (786 cases; 18.7%), peanut (449 cases; 10.7%), and wheat (407 cases; 9.7%). Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA) was the total of 18 cases, and the most common causative food for FDEIA was wheat (10 cases) followed by peach (4 cases). One hundred and seventy five cases (9.6%) were currently receiving OIT. Main causative foods under OIT were hen's egg (63 cases), cow's milk (80 cases), and wheat (30 cases). The average starting age of OIT was 7.1 years old. Regarding complications of allergic diseases other than FA, 1119 (61.4%) had atopic dermatitis, and 541 (29.7%) bronchial asthma.
Conclusions
We were able to clarify the cross section of food allergy patients in our department and to obtain the basic data to follow continuous transition of these patients.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411611.80926.23
PMCID: PMC3512856
21.  The diagnosis of food allergy: protocol for a systematic review 
Background
The literature on diagnostic tests for food allergy currently lacks clear consensus regarding the accuracy and safety of different investigative approaches. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is in the process of developing its Guideline for Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis, and this systematic review is one of seven inter-linked evidence syntheses that are being undertaken in order to provide a state-of-the-art synopsis of the current evidence base in relation to epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and clinical management, and impact on quality of life, which will be used to inform the formulation of clinical recommendations. The aim of this systematic review will be to assess the diagnostic accuracy of tests aimed at supporting the clinical diagnosis of IgE-mediated food allergy.
Methods
The following databases from inception to September 30, 2012 will be searched for studies of diagnostic tests: Cochrane Library (Wiley&Sons); MEDLINE (OVID); Embase (OVID); CINAHL (Ebscohost); ISI Web of Science (Thomson Web of Knowledge); TRIP Database (web http://www.tripdatabase.com); and Clinicaltrials.gov (NIH web). These database searches will be supplemented by contacting an international panel of experts. Studies evaluating APT, SPT, specific-IgE, and component specific-IgE in participants of any age with suspected food allergy will be included. The reference standard will be DBPCFC in at least 50% of the participants. Studies will be quality assessed by using the QUADAS-2 instrument. We will report summary statistics such as sensitivity, specificity, and/or likelihood ratios. We will use the hierarchical summary ROC (HSROC) model to summarize the accuracy of each test and to compare the accuracy of two or more tests.
Discussion
Decisions on which tests to use need to be guided by availability of tests, populations being cared for, risks, financial considerations and test properties. This review will examine papers from around the world, covering children and adults with suspected food allergy in varying populations and concentrated on four type of tests: APT, SPT, specific-IgEs, and component specific-IgEs.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-3-18
PMCID: PMC3679851  PMID: 23742215
Food allergy; IgE-mediated; Diagnosis; Diagnostic tests
22.  A survey on clinical presentation and nutritional status of infants with suspected cow' milk allergy 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:25.
Background
Cow's milk is the most common food allergen in infants and the diagnosis of cow's milk allergy is difficult, even with the use of several diagnostic tests. Therefore, elimination diets and challenge tests are essential for the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder. The aim of this study is to report the clinical presentation and nutritional status of children evaluated by pediatric gastroenterologists for the assessment of symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy.
Methods
An observational cross-sectional study was performed among 9,478 patients evaluated by 30 pediatric gastroenterologists for 40 days in 5 different geographical regions in Brazil. Clinical data were collected from patients with symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy. The nutritional status of infants (age ≤ 24 months) seen for the first time was evaluated according to z-scores for weight-for-age, weight-for-height, and height-for-age. Epi-Info (CDC-NCHS, 2000) software was used to calculate z-scores.
Results
The prevalence of suspected cow's milk allergy in the study population was 5.4% (513/9,478), and the incidence was 2.2% (211/9,478). Among 159 infants seen at first evaluation, 15.1% presented with a low weight-for-age z score (< -2.0 standard deviation - SD), 8.7% with a low weight-for-height z score (< -2.0 SD), and 23.9% with a low height-for-age z score (< -2.0 SD).
Conclusion
The high prevalence of nutritional deficits among infants with symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy indicates that effective elimination diets should be prescribed to control allergy symptoms and to prevent or treat malnutrition.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-25
PMCID: PMC2873518  PMID: 20416046
23.  Guidelines for the use of allergen immunotherapy. Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 
OBJECTIVES: To recommend guidelines for the use of allergen immunotherapy to treat allergies in patients for whom allergen avoidance and drug therapy have not been sufficiently effective. OPTIONS: High-dose or low-dose allergen immunotherapy for the treatment of IgE-mediated allergy to insect stings, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma. OUTCOMES: Clinical evaluation of symptoms, objective measurement of reactions to nasal or bronchial allergen challenge, immunologic changes as a result of allergen immunotherapy and, among patients with anaphylactic reactions to stinging insects, clinical outcome of intentional sting challenge. EVIDENCE: A search of MEDLINE was conducted to identify articles that presented results of allergen immunotherapy. Proceedings of symposia held by international subcommittees and of consensus meetings, as well as references obtained from these sources, were reviewed. The articles were grouped according to their main subject: immunologic effects, specific allergies, the results of randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials, types of allergen extract and protocols for allergen immunotherapy, adverse effects and deficiencies of allergen immunotherapy. VALUES: Each member of the working group assessed the importance of such issues as basic immunologic effects, clinical efficacy, adverse effects and inappropriate use; the working group then arrived at a consensus. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: Implementation of these guidelines would lead to the appropriate use of allergen immunotherapy and control inappropriate treatment, which could result in adverse effects and increased costs of services for patients with allergies. RECOMMENDATIONS: Allergen immunotherapy with specific, standardized allergenic materials, administered in high-dose schedules, is effective in patients with an allergy to insect stings or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, and in some patients with asthma, who have been correctly diagnosed through a meticulous history corroborated by positive results of skin tests and for whom avoidance of the allergen and drug therapy are not sufficiently effective. VALIDATION: These guidelines are similar to others being developed in the United States and recommended by the Joint Council of Allergy and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. SPONSOR: These guidelines were developed by a working group of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; no funding was received from any other source.
PMCID: PMC1337905  PMID: 7728690
24.  Food allergy knowledge, perception of food allergy labeling, and level of dietary practice: A comparison between children with and without food allergy experience 
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES
The prevalence of food allergies in Korean children aged 6 to 12 years increased from 10.9% in 1995 to 12.6% in 2012 according to nationwide population studies. Treatment for food allergies is avoidance of allergenic-related foods and epinephrine auto-injector (EPI) for accidental allergic reactions. This study compared knowledge and perception of food allergy labeling and dietary practices of students.
SUBJECTS/METHODS
The study was conducted with the fourth to sixth grade students from an elementary school in Yongin. A total of 437 response rate (95%) questionnaires were collected and statistically analyzed.
RESULTS
The prevalence of food allergy among respondents was 19.7%, and the most common food allergy-related symptoms were urticaria, followed by itching, vomiting and nausea. Food allergens, other than 12 statutory food allergens, included cheese, cucumber, kiwi, melon, clam, green tea, walnut, grape, apricot and pineapple. Children with and without food allergy experience had a similar level of knowledge on food allergies. Children with food allergy experience thought that food allergy-related labeling on school menus was not clear or informative.
CONCLUSION
To understand food allergies and prevent allergic reactions to school foodservice among children, schools must provide more concrete and customized food allergy education.
doi:10.4162/nrp.2015.9.1.92
PMCID: PMC4317486
Elementary students; food allergy; labeling; dietary practice
25.  Active or Passive Exposure to Tobacco Smoking and Allergic Rhinitis, Allergic Dermatitis, and Food Allergy in Adults and Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001611.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, Bahi Takkouche and colleagues examine the associations between exposure to tobacco smoke and allergic disorders in children and adults.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, and food allergy are extremely common diseases, especially among children, and are frequently associated to each other and to asthma. Smoking is a potential risk factor for these conditions, but so far, results from individual studies have been conflicting. The objective of this study was to examine the evidence for an association between active smoking (AS) or passive exposure to secondhand smoke and allergic conditions.
Methods and Findings
We retrieved studies published in any language up to June 30th, 2013 by systematically searching Medline, Embase, the five regional bibliographic databases of the World Health Organization, and ISI-Proceedings databases, by manually examining the references of the original articles and reviews retrieved, and by establishing personal contact with clinical researchers. We included cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies reporting odds ratio (OR) or relative risk (RR) estimates and confidence intervals of smoking and allergic conditions, first among the general population and then among children.
We retrieved 97 studies on allergic rhinitis, 91 on allergic dermatitis, and eight on food allergy published in 139 different articles. When all studies were analyzed together (showing random effects model results and pooled ORs expressed as RR), allergic rhinitis was not associated with active smoking (pooled RR, 1.02 [95% CI 0.92–1.15]), but was associated with passive smoking (pooled RR 1.10 [95% CI 1.06–1.15]). Allergic dermatitis was associated with both active (pooled RR, 1.21 [95% CI 1.14–1.29]) and passive smoking (pooled RR, 1.07 [95% CI 1.03–1.12]). In children and adolescent, allergic rhinitis was associated with active (pooled RR, 1.40 (95% CI 1.24–1.59) and passive smoking (pooled RR, 1.09 [95% CI 1.04–1.14]). Allergic dermatitis was associated with active (pooled RR, 1.36 [95% CI 1.17–1.46]) and passive smoking (pooled RR, 1.06 [95% CI 1.01–1.11]). Food allergy was associated with SHS (1.43 [1.12–1.83]) when cohort studies only were examined, but not when all studies were combined.
The findings are limited by the potential for confounding and bias given that most of the individual studies used a cross-sectional design. Furthermore, the studies showed a high degree of heterogeneity and the exposure and outcome measures were assessed by self-report, which may increase the potential for misclassification.
Conclusions
We observed very modest associations between smoking and some allergic diseases among adults. Among children and adolescents, both active and passive exposure to SHS were associated with a modest increased risk for allergic diseases, and passive smoking was associated with an increased risk for food allergy. Additional studies with detailed measurement of exposure and better case definition are needed to further explore the role of smoking in allergic diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The immune system protects the human body from viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Whenever a pathogen enters the body, immune system cells called T lymphocytes recognize specific molecules on its surface and release chemical messengers that recruit and activate other types of immune cells, which then attack the pathogen. Sometimes, however, the immune system responds to harmless materials (for example, pollen; scientists call these materials allergens) and triggers an allergic disease such as allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the inside of the nose; hay fever is a type of allergic rhinitis), allergic dermatitis (also known as eczema, a disease characterized by dry, itchy patches on the skin), and food allergy. Recent studies suggest that all these allergic (atopic) diseases are part of a continuous state called the “atopic march” in which individuals develop allergic diseases in a specific sequence that starts with allergic dermatitis during infancy, and progresses to food allergy, allergic rhinitis, and finally asthma (inflammation of the airways).
Why Was This Study Done?
Allergic diseases are extremely common, particularly in children. Allergic rhinitis alone affects 10%–30% of the world's population and up to 40% of children in some countries. Moreover, allergic diseases are becoming increasingly common. Allergic diseases affect the quality of life of patients and are financially costly to both patients and health systems. It is important, therefore, to identify the factors that cause or potentiate their development. One potential risk factor for allergic diseases is active or passive exposure to tobacco smoke. In some countries up to 80% of children are exposed to second-hand smoke so, from a public health point of view, it would be useful to know whether exposure to tobacco smoke is associated with the development of allergic diseases. Here, the researchers undertake a systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) and a meta-analysis (a statistical approach for combining the results of several studies) to investigate this issue.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 196 observational studies (investigations that observe outcomes in populations without trying to affect these outcomes in any way) that examined the association between smoke exposure and allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, or food allergy. When all studies were analyzed together, allergic rhinitis was not associated with active smoking but was slightly associated with exposure to second-hand smoke. Specifically, compared to people not exposed to second-hand smoke, the pooled relative risk (RR) of allergic rhinitis among people exposed to second-hand smoke was 1.10 (an RR of greater than 1 indicates an increased risk of disease development in an exposed population compared to an unexposed population). Allergic dermatitis was associated with both active smoking (RR = 1.21) and exposure to second-hand smoke (RR = 1.07). In the populations of children and adolescents included in the studies, allergic rhinitis was associated with both active smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke (RRs of 1.40 and 1.09, respectively), as was allergic dermatitis (RRs of 1.36 and 1.06, respectively). Finally food allergy was associated with exposure to second-hand smoke (RR = 1.43) when cohort studies (a specific type of observational study) only were examined but not when all the studies were combined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide limited evidence for a weak association between smoke exposure and allergic disease in adults but suggest that both active and passive smoking are associated with a modestly increased risk of allergic diseases in children and adolescents. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the use of questionnaires to assess smoke exposure and allergic disease development in most of the studies in the meta-analysis and by the possibility that individuals exposed to smoke may have shared other characteristics that were actually responsible for their increased risk of allergic diseases. To shed more light on the role of smoking in allergic diseases, additional studies are needed that accurately measure exposure and outcomes. However, the present findings suggest that, in countries where many people smoke, 14% and 13% of allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis, respectively, among children may be attributable to active smoking. Thus, the elimination of active smoking among children and adolescents could prevent one in seven cases of allergic rhinitis and one in eight cases of allergic dermatitis in such countries.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001611.
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about allergic rhinitis, hay fever (including personal stories), allergic dermatitis (including personal stories), and food allergy (including personal stories)
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease provides information about allergic diseases
The UK not-for-profit organization Allergy UK provides information about all aspects of allergic diseases and a description of the atopic march
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about allergies, eczema, and food allergy (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001611
PMCID: PMC3949681  PMID: 24618794

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