Management of Food-Induced Anaphylaxis: Unsolved Challenges
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Anaphylaxis is an acute and often severe systemic allergic reaction. The prevalence of food allergy has been increasing and is currently estimated at approximately 3.5%. Food allergic reactions account for one-third to one-half of anaphylaxis cases worldwide. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 food-related anaphylactic reactions are treated in United States emergency departments (ED) every year resulting in approximately 2000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths. The increasing rate of food-induced anaphylactic episodes in the last few decades underlines the existence of major challenges. This review will critically appraise current guidelines for the diagnosis as well as the acute and long-term management of food-induced anaphylaxis (FIA). Importantly, it will outline existing challenges and suggest measures to improve outcomes in patients with FIA. We propose that the discovery of novel diagnostic (i.e. biomarkers and predictors) and therapeutic approaches is a major challenge that may be overcome as the mechanisms underlying FIA are better delineated. We further propose that better dissemination, implementation and compliance with the consensus management guidelines are urgently needed. This will require education of ED personnel, patient empowerment as well as effective multilateral communication among patients, emergency and family physicians, allergists and specialized volunteer organizations.
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