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Managing food allergies in children and young people

Suneeta Kochhar looks at how nurses can diagnose and manage these increasingly common allergies

Food allergy refers to an adverse immune response to a food. Common allergens include cows’ milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish.1 Furthermore there may be cross-reactions between allergens, for example, between peanuts and tree nuts. Nut allergy may affect over 2% of children and egg allergy may also affect up to 2% of children in the UK.2 Latex allergens may cross-react with plant-derived food allergens which may result in food allergies to tomato and kiwi for example.1

Those with birch tree pollen allergy contributing to oral allergy syndrome may experience cross-reactivity with raw foods including apples, pears and carrots.2 Skypala et al3 note that approximately half of patients with birch tree pollen allergy may develop oral allergy syndrome and this may affect 2% of the UK population.

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