Family food allergies: Slightly increased risk for siblings

Family food allergies: Slightly increased risk for siblings

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If a child in the family has a food allergy, the risk for the siblings is only slightly increased compared to the general population. This is the surprising result of a US study that involved a total of 1,120 children aged 0 to 21 years.

There were 478 children with a food allergy and their 642 siblings. Common allergies, for example to peanuts, protein, cow's milk, soy, crustaceans and walnuts, were checked on the basis of surveys by parents and special examinations. This included the determination of the specific antibodies (IgE) in the blood and the so-called prick test, in which allergen extracts are dripped onto the skin and the area is then lightly pierced.

Every second sibling had antibodies in the blood or a positive prick test, but showed no allergy symptoms. A third of the young test subjects were not sensitized and showed no intolerance. Just under 14 percent of children are currently responding to the same food as their brother or sister.

Food allergies are increasing and affect young people in particular. If a child is already affected, many parents are concerned. However, an allergy test is not justified without the corresponding symptoms and can lead to incorrect diagnoses, the scientists write in the journal "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice". If certain foods are avoided unnecessarily, this behavior can even increase the risk of developing an allergy later in life. Source: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Vol. 4, No. 5, pp. 956-962, 2016 Heike Kreutz, aid

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