Pediatric Annals

CME Article 

Food Allergies and Atopic Dermatitis: Differentiating Myth from Reality

Lisa R. Forbes, MD; Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD; Rushani W. Saltzman, MD

Abstract

Adverse food reactions or food allergy can be the source of stress for many families. Some studies have assessed the quality of life for children with food allergy. One study showed that parents of children with food allergy report that family activities and general health perception are negatively affected. Cohen et al, using principles established in measuring disease-specific, health-related quality of life instruments, found that multiple domains are affected in families with food allergy including school, camp, social activities involving food, vacations, children in the care of others, restaurant meals, and being near other children who are eating. Parents also reported anxiety and frustration over nutritional issues, worry over not being able to help their child with a reaction, and whether their child eventually will overcome the allergy. Managing food allergy is an ongoing process involving cooperation between the parent and physician. Determining the etiology of food reactions can better guide therapies.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lisa R. Forbes MD; Rushani W. Saltzman MD; and Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, are with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Allergy Section, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Philadelphia, PA.

Address correspondence to: Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, 3550 Market Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia PA 19104; or e-mail spergel@email.chop.edu.

Dr. Forbes, Dr. Saltzman, and Dr. Spergel have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Discuss the mechanisms behind food-related reactions.
  2. Describe a systematic approach to the evaluation of food allergy.
  3. Explain the relationship between IgE-mediated food allergy and atopic dermatitis.

Abstract

Adverse food reactions or food allergy can be the source of stress for many families. Some studies have assessed the quality of life for children with food allergy. One study showed that parents of children with food allergy report that family activities and general health perception are negatively affected. Cohen et al, using principles established in measuring disease-specific, health-related quality of life instruments, found that multiple domains are affected in families with food allergy including school, camp, social activities involving food, vacations, children in the care of others, restaurant meals, and being near other children who are eating. Parents also reported anxiety and frustration over nutritional issues, worry over not being able to help their child with a reaction, and whether their child eventually will overcome the allergy. Managing food allergy is an ongoing process involving cooperation between the parent and physician. Determining the etiology of food reactions can better guide therapies.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lisa R. Forbes MD; Rushani W. Saltzman MD; and Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, are with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Allergy Section, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Philadelphia, PA.

Address correspondence to: Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, 3550 Market Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia PA 19104; or e-mail spergel@email.chop.edu.

Dr. Forbes, Dr. Saltzman, and Dr. Spergel have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Discuss the mechanisms behind food-related reactions.
  2. Describe a systematic approach to the evaluation of food allergy.
  3. Explain the relationship between IgE-mediated food allergy and atopic dermatitis.

Adverse food reactions or food allergy can be the source of stress for many families. Some studies have assessed the quality of life for children with food allergy. One study showed that parents of children with food allergy report that family activities and general health perception are negatively affected. Cohen et al, using principles established in measuring disease-specific, health-related quality of life instruments, found that multiple domains are affected in families with food allergy including school, camp, social activities involving food, vacations, children in the care of others, restaurant meals, and being near other children who are eating. Parents also reported anxiety and frustration over nutritional issues, worry over not being able to help their child with a reaction, and whether their child eventually will overcome the allergy. Managing food allergy is an ongoing process involving cooperation between the parent and physician. Determining the etiology of food reactions can better guide therapies.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lisa R. Forbes MD; Rushani W. Saltzman MD; and Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, are with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Allergy Section, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Philadelphia, PA.

Address correspondence to: Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, 3550 Market Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia PA 19104; or e-mail spergel@email.chop.edu.

Dr. Forbes, Dr. Saltzman, and Dr. Spergel have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Discuss the mechanisms behind food-related reactions.
  2. Describe a systematic approach to the evaluation of food allergy.
  3. Explain the relationship between IgE-mediated food allergy and atopic dermatitis.

10.3928/00904481-20090201-05

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