TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Atopic dermatitis appears to be a strong precursor for food allergies rather than a consequence of them, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from Feb. 4 to 8 in New Orleans.
Jon M. Hanifin, M.D., of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, discussed the link between atopic dermatitis and food allergies, as well as the new food allergy guidelines issued in December 2010 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
In a five-year multi-center study, Hanifin and colleagues found that 15 percent of infants aged 3 to 18 months with mild cases of atopic dermatitis had definite food allergies, with those with more severe atopic dermatitis having a higher incidence of developing food allergies. Hanifin noted that, in most cases, children experience atopic dermatitis before food allergies. According to the new NIAID guidelines, children less than 5 years of age with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis should be considered for food allergy evaluation for milk, egg, peanut, wheat, and soy, if the child has persistent atopic dermatitis despite optimized management and topical therapy and/or has a reliable history of an immediate reaction after ingestion of a specific food.
"Considering that 6 to 10 percent of children have atopic dermatitis and that up to one-third of those individuals may have documented food allergy, the number of these children affected by food allergies may be significant. In most cases, patients experience atopic dermatitis before food allergies, so it is important for parents of infants and small children affected by this skin condition to be aware of the risk of food allergies," Hanifin said in a statement.
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