Reflective Practive

Food allergy

Patients with asthma, plus allergy to peanuts or tree nuts, are at an increased risk of fatal anaphylaxis1,2

Globally as many as 520 million people may suffer from food allergy3 with most patients allergic to between 1-3 foods4

Approximately 40% of infants and young children with eczema suffer from food allergy, with hen's egg, cow's milk, soy and wheat accounting for about 90% of allergenic foods3

Approximately 70% of children with egg allergy and 85% with milk allergy will outgrow it by 5 years of age.4 About 40-60% of children with egg or milk allergy will develop asthma and 30-55% will develop allergic rhinitis4

The benefits of allergy testing

Targeted management of atopic patients could reduce the healthcare burden6,7

Is there a suspicion of allergy?

1. Go beyond symptoms and identify the cause

  • Avoid unnecessary prescriptions
  • Avoid unnecessary consultations
  • Reduce the prescription burden and save costs
  • Reduce time off school, college or work and reduce waitling lists
  • Save time, costs and help patients live a less encumbered life

2. Early diagnosis of allergy

3. Determine the right treatment plan

4. Active management

What are the clinical benefits of testing for components?

Allergen component diagnostics measure IgE to particular allergen components, uncovering additional information about an underlying allergy.

Not only do they indicate specific allergen reactivity in the way that whole extracts do but they are also indicators for:
1

understand patient risk - add confidence to your assessment

1

selecting patients for immunotherapy - useful for venom and aero-allergy patient selection

Understanding cross-reactions between species - help to understand multiple sensitisations e.g. in pollen-food syndrome

What do the experts say?

References
  1. Punekar YS and Sheikh A. Clin Exp Allergy 2009; 39:1889-1895.
  2. Simpson AB, et al. J Pediatr 2010; 156: 777-781.
  3. Pawankar R (Ed), et al. White book on allergy, 2011; World Allergy Organisation UK.
  4. Kurowski K, et al. Am Fam Physician 2008; 77: 1678-1688.
  5. Punekar YS and Sheikh A. Clin Exp Allergy 2009; 39:1889-1895.
  6. Simpson AB, et al. J Pediatr 2010; 156: 777-781.
  7. Pawankar R (Ed), et al. White book on allergy, 2011; World Allergy Organisation UK.
  8. Kurowski K, et al. Am Fam Physician 2008; 77: 1678-1688.
  9. House of Lords, Science and Technology sixth report- the extent and burden of allergy in the United Kingdom. Available from http://www.bsaci.org/pdf/HoL_science_report_vol.1.pdf; last accessed July 2015.
  10. Pearce L. Nursing Times 2012; 108(17): 20-22.

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