Eczema & Food Allergy Association
There appears to have been a large increase in food allergy over recent decades, although this has been less well documented than the increase in other allergic disease. Peanut allergy, for example, has tripled in just over a decade and now effects almost 1 in 50 children in the English speaking world. Food allergies can be very broadly divided into immediate allergies, which lead to immediate symptoms such as hives, wheeziness and in severe cases, anaphylaxis (a life threatening allergic reaction) and those which cause more delayed symptoms. Immediate reactions are usually quite obvious when they occur as they produce obvious symptoms very soon after the food is eaten and can also be confirmed will special allergy tests. Delayed reactions involve a different part of the immune system and may be very tricky to diagnose, as symptoms may occur many hours after the food is eaten and as yet there are no reliable tests to confirm which food is the problem. Eczema may be associated with immediate food allergies, delayed food allergies or both.