Purpose of review: Food-induced anaphylaxis is the leading single cause of anaphylaxis treated in emergency departments and increasing in prevalence.
Recent findings: Food allergy is an increasing problem in westernized countries around the world, with a cumulative prevalence of 3–6%. Peanut, tree nuts, and shellfish are the most commonly implicated foods in anaphylaxis, although milk is a common trigger in children. Asthmatics, adolescents, and those with a prior reaction are at increased risk for more severe reactions. Most first reactions and reactions in children most commonly occur at home, whereas most subsequent reactions and reactions in adults occur outside home. Studies on schools have identified inadequate management plans and symptom recognition whereas those on restaurants report lack of prior notification by allergic individuals and lack in staff education. Epinephrine, although underutilized is the drug of choice with multiple doses needed in up to one-fifth of reactions. Diagnosis is currently based on convincing history and allergy testing supported by elevated serum tryptase, if available. Long-term management includes strict avoidance and emergency action plan.
Summary: With a growing population of food-allergic children and adults, markers to predict which individuals are at increased risk for anaphylaxis as well as new therapies are vigorously sought.