Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity

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Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay

Allergies tend to be more common in infants in comparison to grown-up persons. Research shows that close to 5 percent of the infants in every country have food hypersensitivity, also referred to as food allergy. Food hypersensitivity refers to an unusual reaction of the body to particular foods.Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay. It is when the body responds to specific foods with abnormal immunological responses (1). The reaction always repeats itself; meaning that any time the child eats the food, he or she experiences a similar unusual response. As such, this paper intends to explore the pathophysiology of food allergy, its prevalence, causes, consequences, and recommendation for its reduction or prevention in children.

Pathophysiology of Food Allergy

It is essential to note an individual’s immune system usually detects and destroys microorganisms, for example, viruses and bacteria which can make him or her ill. However, occasionally, the body may make a mistake of attacking something harmless, and in such cases, an allergy happens (1). Food allergy or hypersensitivity occurs when a food protein get attacked by the immune system. The body usually makes its proteins referred to as immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies, to fight against the food allergens (2).

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Nonetheless, when one drinks or eats similar food again, the body sends out the immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies to react to or attack the allergens. The above process results in a release of chemicals which lead to an allergic reaction. The reaction can make someone have troubles in breathing, feel itchy, or even faint. Children who are extremely sensitive to particular foods, having a touch, breathing even skin contact with such foods can trigger or initiate the reaction.. Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay.

Prevalence of Allergies

        The prevalence of allergies amongst infants has developed to be an increasing health menace in modern time. Hypersensitive conditions appear to be among the most common health problems that affect children in the United States of America. The 2015 statistics show that 8.5% of children were diagnosed with hay fever (2). Allergic conditions among the infants have highly risen in the last few decades and currently impact up to 34 percent of the children. Allergy is one of the leading causes of morbidity in infants leading to the deterioration of health. Even though there is a genetic tendency, it has become evident that exposure to infections, irritants, and environmental allergens determine the sensitization to a variety of inhalant and dietary allergens.

The prevalence of allergies increases by 0.4 percent per year amongst children without asthma (2). The predisposition or susceptibility to contracting an allergy to inhalant and dietary allergens is mainly genetically determined. Research shows that 64.5% to 80.3% of children with bi-parental allergies, 35% to 55% of children with a single parental allergy, and 12% of children with no family history of allergy will develop allergic conditions. Food hypersensitivity impacts 3% to 7% of infants in the developed nations such as the United States of and the United Kingdom (2). The latest research in the United States showed a prevalence of food hypersensitivity of 7.2 percent in breastfed children, with 1 out of 20 infants developing egg allergy and 1 out of 40 developing peanut allergy (3)

Common Foods that Cause Allergies

        Food allergy can be severe; however, one can take constructive steps to manage it. Some of the common foods which cause allergies in infants include milk, eggs, peanut, and meat (3). When an allergic child takes the above foods, his or her body mistakes them as something which wants to lead to illness. The immune system, therefore, reacts to protect the victim. Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay.

Consequences of Allergies to Health

        Allergies often cause itchy eyes and mild skin rash. Severe food allergies, however, can result in a critical, life-threatening allergic response referred to as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis usually occurs in constricted lungs’ airways leading to breathing problems (3). Allergies can also cause anaphylactic shock and severe lowering of blood pressure. If not treated, allergies can result in cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, and loss of consciousness.

Dietary Recommendations to reduce the risk of allergies in infants

Different recommendations have been made to lower the risk of allergies among children. They include exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months. Reports have shown that exclusive breastfeeding help in protecting the high-risk infant against milk allergies.

Search Strategy and Summary of Studies

The databases searched includes were PubMed and Medline Complete. The search terms used were Peanut allergy, food allergy, infant allergy, allergy prevention, and egg allergy. Notably, only studies reported in English were searched.

Study Participants Intervention Duration Outcome
Santos et al. (2015) 124 children below five years Predicting the severity and threshold of reactivity to peanut during oral food challenges Three years Basophil sensitivity is associated with the limit of allergic reactions to peanut.Basophil reactivity is associated with severity.

P<0.1 between-group difference

Martin et al. (2015) 4453 infants below three months Avoid proteins that cause allergy Two years Consumption group: 1.9% peanut allergy (60 months)
Avoidance group: 12.9% peanut allergy (30 months)

Du Toit et al. (2015) 640 infants (4 moths-11 months) inUnited Kingdom Consumption group: 6g peanut protein three times per week
Avoidance group: protein-free

4.5 years Consumption group: 1.9% peanut allergy (60 months)
Avoidance group: 13.7% peanut allergy (60 months)

P<0.001 between-group difference

Molloy et al. (2015) 671 infant below one year inAustralia To determine the prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergy 18 months Consumption group: 1.8% peanut allergy (12months)

Discussion and Key Findings

        A study carried by Santos et al., (2015) aimed at assessing the utility of the basophil activation test (BAT) in predicting the threshold as well as the severity of reactivity to peanut at a time of oral food challenges. The study involved five randomized controlled trials with a sample size of 124 children aged below five years (4). The researchers represented qualitative variables as proportions and made a comparison between threshold or severity groups by the use of the Fisher exact test. The ratios of the percentage basophils after stimulating them with anti-IgE and peanuts were independently related to severity (P = 0.001), while the basophil allergen threshold sensitivity value was independently related to the threshold (P =0.020) of allergic reaction to peanuts (4). Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay.The study found that basophil sensitivity is related to the limits of allergic reactions to peanut while basophils reactivity is strongly correlated with severity.

Another study carried out by Molloy et al., (2015) for 18 months aimed at determining the prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergies. The research involved 671 infants below one year (5) who were assessed through 4 random controlled trials. It found that the prevalence of food allergies a major metropolitan center is more than in a regional center. Subsequently, a study conducted by Du Toit et al., (2015) peanut consumption among 11-year children does not result in allergy. The review was Randomized trial of peanut consumption and assessed strategies of avoidance and peanut consumption to help in determining the most effective in the prevention of the development of peanut allergies in children at high risk for the allergies (6). It evaluated 640 infants with an egg allergy or severe eczema. The participants were to either avoid or consume peanut until four years. It found that early introduction of peanut decreases the frequency developing a peanut allergy amongst infants at high risk for this particular allergy.

Lastly, a research carried out by Martin et al., (2015) with the aim of characterizing the risk of challenge‐proven food allergies among children having eczema found that 1 in 5 children with disease were allergic eggs and to peanuts in comparison to 1 in 25 babies without inflammation (7). Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay. The study involved a population of 4453 infants below one year. The research established that eczema is one of the substantial risk factors for IgE‐mediated food allergies. It found that children who have inflammation were eleven times more likely to have peanuts allergy and five times more likely to have eggs allergy by 12 months compared to children without the disease.

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Many people are aware of the existence of food allergies, and some may take it as a normal response of the body, yet it is not. A food allergy happens when the body makes a mistake of attacking something harmless – always food proteins. Research indicates the prevalence of food allergies is 34% among infants; and that 64.5% to 80.3% of children with bi-parental allergies, 35% to 55% of children with a single parental allergy, and 12% of children with no family history of allergy are likely to develop allergic conditions.

What Causes Food Allergy

Food allergies occur when the immune system attacks food proteins; therefore, making the body to make its proteins in the form of immunoglobulin E or called IgE antibodies to fight against the food allergens. The common causes of food allergy among infants include eggs, peanut, milk, fish, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and shellfish. A study carried out by Martin et al., (2015) with an aim of characterizing the risk of challenge‐proven food allergies among children having eczema found that 1 in 5 children with eczema were allergic eggs and to peanuts in comparison to 1e in 25 babies without eczema.

Can Food Allergy go away?

For several people, food allergies do not go away. As such, the best step to take is to see a Board-Certified allergist for diagnosis and treatment. Most of the Board-Certified allergist are found in healthcare facilities like hospitals.

What are the Vital Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies?

The most common signs of food allergy include flushed skin or rash, face, tongue, or lip swelling, hives or welts, difficulty in breathing, and coughing or wheezing. It is important to note that stress rashes usually take the form of welts, wheals, or hives (8). Areas of the skin affected by wounds usually are swollen, raised, and red and may connect to form more significant swarms. Once such symptoms are noticed, it is essential to see a doctor avoid further complication. Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay.

What are the Health Effects of Food Allergy?

Severe food allergies are usually dangerous to the body. They can result in a critical, life-threatening allergic response referred to as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can, in turn, occur in constricted lungs’ airways leading to breathing problems (8). Allergies can also cause anaphylactic shock and severe lowering of blood pressure, cardiac arrest, and respiratory distress.

Prevention of Food Allergy

Children with at least one biological parent or sibling with allergic illnesses are at risk of developing food allergies (8). Therefore, restriction of a mother’s diet of particular allergens, such as eggs, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding an essential step for preventing food allergy.

Conclusion

        Food allergy among infants should be taken seriously as it leads to health consequences such as cardiac arrest. Allergies often show vital signs of itchy eyes and mild skin rash. Therefore to prevent food allergy in infants, mothers should restrict the diet of particular allergens, such as eggs, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding for prevention purposes. The reaction continually repeats itself in any event that the food is consumed. Upon detection, foods which cause allergy ought not to be eaten by the victims.

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References

Renz, H., Allen, K. J., Sicherer, S. H., Sampson, H. A., Lack, G., Beyer, K., & Oettgen, H. C. (2018). Food allergy. Nature reviews Disease primers, 4, 17098.
Nowak-Węgrzyn, A., Katz, Y., Mehr, S. S., & Koletzko, S. (2015). Non–IgE-mediated gastrointestinal food allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 135(5), 1114-1124.
Chinthrajah, R. S., Hernandez, J. D., Boyd, S. D., Galli, S. J., & Nadeau, K. C. (2016). Molecular and cellular mechanisms of food allergy and food tolerance. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 137(4), 984-997.
Santos, A. F., Du Toit, G., Douiri, A., Radulovic, S., Stephens, A., Turcanu, V., & Lack, G. (2015). Distinct parameters of the basophil activation test reflect the severity and threshold of allergic reactions to peanut. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 135(1), 179-186. Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay.
Molloy, J., Koplin, J., Ponsonby, A. L., Tang, M. L., Collier, F., Allen, K., & Vuillermin, P. (2015). Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy in infants in the Barwon Region, Victoria, Australia. Clinical and translational allergy, 5(3), P89
Du Toit, G., Roberts, G., Sayre, P. H., Bahnson, H. T., Radulovic, S., Santos, A. F., … & Turcanu, V. (2015). Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine, 372(9), 803-813.
Martin, P. E., Eckert, J. K., Koplin, J. J., Lowe, A. J., Gurrin, L. C., Dharmage, S. C., … & Hill, D. J. (2015). Which infants with eczema are at risk of food allergy? Results from a population‐based cohort. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 45(1), 255-264.
Sicherer, S. H., & Sampson, H. A. (2018). Food allergy: a review and update on epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention, and management. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 141(1), 41-58. Infancy and Childhood Food Hypersensitivity Essay.