Respiratory Tract and Food Allergy
Upper and lower respiratory tracts can be affected by food
- 1 Chronic rhinitis is the most common respiratory tract manifestation of
delayed pattern food allergy.
- 2 Recurrent serous otitis media (“ear infections”) may be solely or
partially due to food allergy.
- 3 Large tonsils sometimes with upper airway obstruction, may be caused
by food allergies.
- 4 Lower respiratory tract disease manifested by chronic coughing,
wheezing, pulmonary infiltrates, or alveolar bleeding may also occur. Lower
respiratory tract involvement is generally associated with a greater delay in
onset of symptoms and with a larger quantity of allergen ingestion than chronic
Food allergy should be considered when there is a history of prior
intolerance to a food in childhood or of symptoms beginning soon after a
particular food was introduced into the diet. It is an important consideration
in patients who have chronic respiratory tract disease which does not respond
adequately to the usual therapeutic measures and is otherwise unexplained.
Delayed patterns of food allergy are quite different from the more obvious
immediate food allergic reactions. Delayed patterns of food allergy generally go
unrecognized. Allergy skin tests do not show this problem nor do blood tests for
antibodies such as RAST or ELIZA Delayed patterns of food allergy are
responsible for causing specific diseases such as asthma, otitis media and
eczema and also cause ill-defined illness patterns that can involve any part of
a child’s body Food antigens are proteins that make their way through
human bodies in a remarkable fashion. Consider the long and improbable path of
milk proteins through a mother's gut, into her blood, through her liver, out
into her breast milk, through her infant's gut mucosa and into the infant's
nasal mucosa to cause Rhinitis, the lung to cause asthma, or the skin to cause
There are many potential paths from mouth to target organ for food antigens
to follow. Every tissue of the body can manifest a delayed food allergic
response. Some activity may be noticed in minutes but the onset of bigger
problems is delayed hours to days.
General symptoms such as flushing, fever, aching, fatigue, are followed hours
later by localized target organ activity, usually some form of inflammation,
manifest as pain, swelling, heat in the target organ. There are many ways for
food problems to interfere with a child's normal functioning and to promote
disease. We assume that several problems interact in a complex manner to produce
the symptoms and dysfunction that we seek to remedy.
The book air and Breathing is a comprehensive guide to airborne problems and
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