, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 80-85

Adult food allergy

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Abstract

Adult food allergy is estimated at approximately 3.2% worldwide. The persistence of childhood food allergy is unusual, peanut allergies excepted. Once established in adults, food allergy is rarely cured. Factors favoring the acquisition of allergy could be sensitization to pollens, occupational sensitization by inhalation, drugs (such as tacrolimus), and sudden dietary changes. Severe anaphylaxis and oral allergy syndrome are frequent. The fatality risk is estimated at 1% in severe anaphylaxis. Risk factors for severe anaphylaxis are agents causing increased intestinal permeability, such as alcohol and aspirin. β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and exercise are other factors. Gastrointestinal food allergy remains, to a large extent, undiagnosed in adults. Food allergens are mainly fruit and vegetable, related to pollen sensitizations, or to latex allergy. Wheat flour allergy is increasing. The diagnosis relies on prick skin tests, detection of specific IgEs, and standardized oral challenges. Strict avoidance diets are necessary. Specific immunotherapy to pollens may be efficient for cross-reactive food allergies.