Emerging Food Allergy Revolution
Food allergies are currently a trendy topic due to their increasing prevalence in the population. An everincreasing sector of the US population suffers from some degree of a food allergy, with the current prevalence somewhere between 4 and 10%. The most common food allergies are cow’s milk (6%), peanuts (1.3%) and shellfish (1.3%). Food allergies present themselves with a variety of mechanisms, but the most common mechanism is an IgE mediated allergy. Clinical responses from this type of allergy include anaphylaxis, urticaria, angioedema, and bronchospasm most commonly. Diagnosis of food allergies is done by first and foremost taking a good history. The allergen is identified through history and then a diagnostic test such as skin prick, measuring antigen-specific IgE or open food challenge, is performed to confirm the diagnosis. Prevention of food allergy is paramount and current research focuses on the early introduction of potentially allergenic foods as the mainstay of prevention. Treatment remains the area with the most need for ongoing and new research focused on immunotherapies with the potential for newer and more novel methods of treatment for an end goal of complete tolerance of the food allergen.