Food allergies, defined as adverse immune responses to food proteins, are
an increasingly common concern in the pediatric age group. Food allergy
is not one disease, but a spectrum of clinicopathological disorders.1 As
such, its manifestations differ significantly, depending on the immune
mechanism involved and the affected target organ, ranging from the
prototypical acute urticaria/angioedema to chronic conditions such
as eczema or failure to thrive. Currently, there are no tests that
can reliably predict the severity of a food allergic reaction, which
may vary with similar exposures and even in the same individual.
As a whole, fatalities are rare, but they do occur. Teenagers are
particularly vulnerable because they undertake unnecessary risks
and may ignore the warning signs of an impending severe reaction.