Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 188-194

First online:

The role of food allergy in atopic dermatitis

  • Pia J. HaukAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, National Jewish Medical and Research Center Email author 

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Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, pruritic, inflammatory skin disease affecting more than 10% of all children. Sensitization to foods triggers isolated skin symptoms in about 30% of children. These symptoms include immediate reactions within minutes after ingesting food without exacerbation of AD and early and late exacerbations of AD. It is important to identify clinically relevant sensitizations to foods using skin prick tests, a specific IgE blood test (ImmunoCAP; Phadia, Portage, MI, USA), and double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges to initiate appropriate dietary interventions and avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions. Children with AD triggered by food allergens demonstrate a distinct immune response upon stimulation of their peripheral blood mononuclear cells with food allergen. A defective skin barrier and increased intestinal permeability appear to facilitate allergen sensitization. Appropriate skin care to maintain skin barrier function and dietary avoidance of highly allergenic foods during infancy may help to prevent allergen sensitization, thereby reducing the severity of AD and food allergies.