FOOD ALLERGY is widely perceived by the public as a major health problem. Although the true incidence of food allergy is unknown, it is probably much less common than thought. Its incidence among children has been variously estimated from 0.3% to 7.5%, and the incidence decreases with age. Acute allergic reactions to foods which are clearly IgE mediated can, however, develop in adults who previously tolerated foods with impunity. Clinically, food-induced reactions of the immediate hypersensitivity type are well documented and include urticaria, angioedema, and anaphylaxis. Reactions to foods mediated through cytotoxic, antigen-antibody-complex and delayed hypersensitivity mechanisms remain to be clearly demonstrated except in gluten-induced enteropathy, where immunoglobulin and complement deposition has been noted.
Immunologically mediated reactions to foods are expressed clinically by a diversity of signs and symptoms from abdominal pain to generalized anaphylaxis. These clinical expressions of food allergy are influenced by factors including the age
Buckley RH, Metcalfe D. Food Allergy. JAMA. 1982;248(20):2627–2631. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330200051013
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