Allergen Avoidance and Prevention of Allergy
Atopy is the inherited tendency to produce Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in response to exposure to allergens. This can be identified clinically by measurement of specific IgE to allergens in the serum or by skin prick test, where IgE bound to skin mast cells is detected. The atopic predisposition leads to a higher risk of development of allergic diseases such as allergic asthma and rhinitis, atopic dermatitis and some allergic food and drug reactions, specifically those that are IgE mediated. Epidemiological studies have shown that nearly 40% of the population in Western, developed countries are atopic . However, not all subjects with atopy develop clinical manifestations. Some remain asymptomatic, while others develop various symptoms related to allergic diseases. The disease may also go into remission. Indeed, it is not uncommon for atopic children to grow out of one set of allergic diseases, usually food allergy and atopic dermatitis, only to be replaced by allergic asthma and rhinitis in later childhood. This is commonly known as atopic march. In this chapter, atopy will be considered as meaning both allergic sensitization and atopic/allergic disease. Primary prevention aims at reducing the development of disease in previously healthy subjects while secondary preventive measures seek to reduce morbidity in individuals with disease.
KeywordsAtopic Eczema Allergic Rhinitis Allergic Disease Allergy Clin Immunol Food Allergen
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