Ten years ago a food allergy or intolerance was hardly heard of. It was seldom linked to any medical condition, nor was much known about the impact of the food substances on an individual with an allergy or intolerance. Times have changed, and it seems like every second child is being diagnosed with some form of food allergy or intolerance. Is this a consequence of change in our diet to more refined and processed foods? Or is it purely an increased knowledge of these conditions and their potential impact on our health?
Regardless of the cause it is far more on our radar now, and has an impact on nearly every mother’s life - be it their own child suffering from an allergy, or a friend of their child’s who is coming to a birthday party, but can't eat dairy, egg or nuts!
Allergies tend to run in families. If one parent is affected, there is a 40% chance that a child will be allergic, and a 70-80% chance if both parents are allergic. (Petropulos, 2011).
This article has been co-written with Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))
Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.