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Challenge of food allergy testing and avoidance in children with atopic dermatitis

Abstract

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common presenting complaint by children and their caretakers to their primary care providers. On testing, children with AD frequently exhibit positive food-specific IgE levels in the absence of immediate allergic reactions. Misinterpretation of these false positive tests can lead to unnecessary food avoidance, which can have tremendous psychosocial, economic and nutritional consequences and, in some cases, facilitate the development of an immediate hypersensitivity to the food. We present a child with persistent AD who underwent broad testing that led to unnecessary food avoidance resulting in Vitamin D deficiency, growth failure and the development of an IgE-mediated food allergy. This case underscores the need for caution by primary care clinicians in using food avoidance diets as a treatment for AD and the importance of limiting allergy testing to foods only when the clinical history indicates an immediate hypersensitivity reaction.

  • dermatology
  • immunology
  • childhood nutrition
  • allergy
  • asthma
  • paediatrics

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