Reported symptoms of food hypersensitivity and sensitization to common foods in 4-year-old children

Authors

  • Eva Östblom,

    1. Department of Pediatrics', Sachs' Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    3. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Magnus Wickman,

    1. Department of Pediatrics', Sachs' Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    3. National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Marianne Van Hage,

    1. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Clinical Immunology and Allergy Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Gunnar Lilja

    1. Department of Pediatrics', Sachs' Children's Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    3. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Supported by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Associations Research Foundation, the Center For Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation, the Vardal Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research and Stockholm County Council.

Correspondence
Eva Östblom, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Sachs' Children's Hospital, S – 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: +4686164000 | Fax: +468304571 | Email: eva.ostblom@ki.se

Abstract

Aim: To characterize reported food hypersensitivity (FHS) among young children in a birth cohort.

Methods: At 4 years of age a parental questionnaire on FHS and allergic symptoms was evaluated. Blood was collected for analyses of IgE-antibodies to egg, milk, fish, wheat, peanut and soy. Complete questionnaire data was available for 3694 children (90%), and blood samples were obtained from 2563 children (63%).

Results: FHS was reported in 11% of the children (n = 397). Eczema was the most commonly reported symptom and the only symptom in half of these children. Food-related reactions from the airways, facial oedema or urticaria were reported in 198 children, and the majority of these children (75%) reported multiple symptoms. Furthermore, a combination of airway symptoms, facial oedema or urticaria together with sensitization to food suggested a more severe form of FHS. This was found in 1.6% of all children. Symptoms caused by peanut were closely associated with sensitization to peanut (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: FHS in 4-year-old children with any of asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis, facial oedema or urticaria in combination is in most cases associated to sensitization to food. This phenotype of FHS is likely to represent a more severe form of FHS.

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