Food allergy has a role to play in 7-10% of patients with atopic dermatitis/eczema. Food allergens exacerbate eczema in one-third of children with eczema.  It predominantly affects infants and younger children under the age of 3. Children older than 5 years old are less likely to have a food allergy as the cause of their eczema. In children who have a food allergy, most outgrow their food allergy except to peanuts, tree nuts and fish which tends to persist. Defective skin barrier in eczema and other immune-mediated mechanisms are involved. Risk of food allergy is high if there is a history of atopy (hay fever, asthma, eczema) in self or family members.  It is important to know whether one has a true food allergy, intolerance or sensitization. Detailed medical history, blood tests and sometimes a skin prick test is required to differentiate between these.

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