Applied Evidence

Managing food allergy in children: An evidence-based update

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References

Based on these data,42,43 NIAID instituted recommendations in 2017 aimed at preventing peanut allergy44:

  • In healthy infants without known food allergy and those with mild or moderate eczema, caregivers can introduce peanut-containing foods at home with other solid foods.Parents who are anxious about a possible allergic reaction can introduce peanut products in a physician’s office.
  • Infants at high risk of peanut allergy (those with severe eczema or egg allergy, or both) should undergo peanut-specific IgE or skin-prick testing:
    • Negative test: indicates low risk of a reaction to peanuts; the infant should start consuming peanut-containing foods at 4 to 6 months of age, at home or in a physician’s office, depending on the parents’ preference
    • Positive test: Referral to an allergist is recommended.

Do children outgrow food allergy?

Approximately 85% of children who have an allergy to milk, egg, soy, or wheat outgrow their allergy; however, only 15% to 20% who have an allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish eventually tolerate these foods. The time to resolution of food allergy varies with the food, and might not occur until adolescence.4 No test reliably predicts which children develop tolerance to any given food. A decrease in the food-specific serum IgE level or a decrease in the size of the wheal on skin-prick testing might portend the onset of tolerance to the food.4

CORRESPONDENCE
Catherine M. Bettcher, MD, FAAFP, Briarwood Family Medicine, 1801 Briarwood Circle, Building #10, Ann Arbor, MI 48108; [email protected].

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