Food anaphylaxis


Julie Wang, Department of Pediatrics, Box 1198, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.


Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction, and food is one of the most common responsible allergens in the outpatient setting. The prevalence of food-induced anaphylaxis has been steadily rising. Education regarding food allergen avoidance is crucial as most of the fatal reactions occurred in those with known food allergies. The lack of a consensus definition for anaphylaxis has made its diagnosis difficult. Symptoms affect multiple organ systems and include pruritus, urticaria, angioedema, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, respiratory difficulty, wheezing, hypotension, and shock. Prompt recognition of anaphylaxis is essential as delayed treatment has been associated with fatalities. Although epinephrine is accepted as the treatment of choice, timely administration does not always occur, partly due to a lack of awareness of the diagnostic criteria. Several novel tools are currently being investigated, which will potentially aid in the diagnosis and treatment of food-induced anaphylaxis.