Objective: Food allergy is defined as an adverse immunological reaction to food intake. Although most adverse food reactions are thought to be allergic, nonimmunological food reactions are more common. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and clinical characteristics of food allergy among children who presented to our clinic with a presumptive diagnosis of food allergy.
Materials and Methods: This retrospective cohort study included children under 16 years old who were evaluated with the presumptive diagnosis of food allergy in the pediatric allergy and pulmonology department. The age, gender and presenting symptom were recorded. The results of skin prick test, food spesific IgE and oral provocation tests used in the diagnosis of food allergy were analyzed. Other allergic symptoms diagnosed during follow up were recorded from the files.
Results: Fifty-nine (68.6%) patients had food allergy. Urticaria, atopic dermatitis, angioedema, anaphylaxis, abdominal ache, nausea and vomiting, wheeze, rectal bleeding were observed in 76.6%, 30.5%, 22%, 10.3%, 1.7%, 6.8%, 5.1%, 1.7% of the food allergic patients. Etiologic foods identified were milk, egg in 45.8% and 11.9% respectively. On the other hand, 16.9% had milk and egg allergy together or nuts, legumes and fruit. Asthma was present at initial evaluation or developed during follow up in 17.2% of the patients.
Conclusion: Food allergy which has an increasing incidence in recent decades may present with symptoms of many different allergic diseases. Considering food allergy in the diagnosis of these cases enables diagnostic tests to be carried out and prevents unnecessary therapies. Moreover, it is important to follow these patients up for other allergic diseases such as asthma.