I was recently invited to write an article for Arab News, focusing on the increased incidence of allergies in the 𝐌𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐭.
This included the significant growth of 𝘩𝘢𝘺𝘧𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 and 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘩𝘮𝘢 and its 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘰𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘤 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵.
It was published on the 14th of May under the name “𝐌𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐞𝐬”.
If you want to read it, please go to
Simple Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐄𝐒) or Food Protein Induced Proctocolitis (𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐏) is often mistaken for a viral infection causing vomiting and diarrhoea, with occasional blood in stool.
Often, and not wrongly, it may be diagnosed as a 𝘯𝘰𝘯-𝘐𝘨𝘌 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘺, with the most common being CMPA.
Important to note that severe 𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐄𝐒 is relatively rare and less common than Anaphylaxis!
𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐄𝐒 most common triggers:
Most children will be able to tolerate the food causing the reaction by the age of 2 or 3 years old. In some cases, it may persist throughout life.
Children with recurrent episodes may suffer from poor growth and weight loss - failure to thrive.
Usually children will recover very fast from an episode of 𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐄𝐒, as long as appropriate diagnosis and treatment is made.
For severe cases, the best treatment is fluid resuscitation.
Though you will often see all of them being used due to the worry it is either Anaphylaxis or Sepsis.
In the case of 𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐏, most symptoms tend to resolve by 6 months of age (50%) or 9 months of age (95%).
The advice is to reintroduce the causing food into the mother's diet after an exclusion period of 6 months or give it to the child when reaching 12 months of age.
For both cases, if the child is formula fed be aware that:
In the case of a breastfeeding mother, a restriction diet needs to be guided by a dietitian.
For 𝐅𝐏𝐈𝐄𝐒, there seems to be a 30% chance of people involved to develop either 𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘤 𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘴 (eczema), 𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘩𝘮𝘢 or 𝘩𝘢𝘺𝘧𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 (allergic rhinitis).
Many people think that pet allergies are caused by a dog's or cat's fur (or any other pet, for what it matters), but the real source of pet allergies is often a protein that's in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats, also some produced in sebaceous glands. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes (dander) from your pet's skin.
Some cats or dogs may shed less dander than others, which potentially can lead to fewer symptoms.
The most interesting piece of research done so far came to the following conclusion:
There is also extensive research done by Prof A. Custovic, related to the development of allergies to pets (can provide references if asked).
The most common symptoms seen in pet allergy are very similar to most other airborne allergens.
But they will vary depending on the person's own sensitivity to the pet in question.
The greater the skin prick test and/or specific IgE, the higher the chance to develop more severe symptoms.
The worse respiratory symptoms tend to be associated with someone who already has an underlying breathing pathology, like asthma, poorly controlled allergic rhinitis or recurrent wheeze of varied aetiology.
This potentially can lead to significant deterioration, often leading to hospital admission for treatment, often including moderate to intensive admissions and treatment.
Prof John Warner, one of the best known worldwide experts in Allergy, has once said that "If you remove a cat from home, you clean all the walls down, do the laundry, do the draperies, it still takes six months for the level of cat protein to get down to normal."
More of less the same will apply to dogs.
Research done by Allergist Dana Wallace, MD, has shown cat dander to be the smallest among pets. This means it will remain airborne for at least 30mins after being disturbed, leading to constant exposure to it.
What to do?
Depending on the severity of symptoms, you might need to avoid the pet (leading to allergic symptoms) completely.
If mild, then you can try mild avoidance and cleaning methods, like:
How many of you have complained that you feel your lips or mouth tingling after eating some fruits or vegetables?
If you also suffer from Hayfever, we are talking about Oral Allergy Syndrome, also known as Pollen Food Syndrome.
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧?
This is an allergic reaction, with swelling and itchiness, affecting the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat only.
Usually, the symptoms are seen within a few minutes of eating certain fruits and vegetables, mainly when they are raw.
It is not common to cause swelling of the throat.
Even less common to cause anaphylaxis.
𝗪𝐡𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧?
Some proteins in foods are similar to some of the proteins found in certain pollens, so a cross-reaction might occur. That is also why it is called Pollen Food Syndrome.
𝗪𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐲𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭?
For a child to suffer from hayfever, they usually need to be exposed to 2 pollen seasons.
For Oral Allergy Syndrome to develop, they need to be exposed to the food causing the reaction, many times.
This means it is not common to find it in toddlers.
𝐒𝐨 𝐢𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬:
This type of symptoms are not associated only with the pollen season, this as we can find those foods available throughout the year.
Saying this, symptoms usually are higher when the pollen count is also higher.
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐟𝐨𝐫, 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧?
𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 (𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘰𝘶𝘣𝘵𝘧𝘶𝘭)
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐭?
Caution as in the case of roasted hazelnuts and cooked celeriac, in some cases, minute amounts of the protein might still cause symptoms in highly sensitized patients.
There is also the possibility that immunotherapy directed at the pollen involved in the cross-reaction, might lead to a decrease of symptoms.
After having a diagnosis made (and this is one of the reasons component diagnostics are needed), a dietitian's cooperation is required, so appropriate follow-up and plan to introduce other foods that are closely related to the one initially the patient reacted to.
If your child has a reaction, the best course of action is:
As the weather warms up, starts raining less and flowers start blooming, my clinic begins getting filled with (as Prof Warner likes to call them) itchy, sneezy, wheezy patients.
And this because they suffer with Allergic rhinitis, which is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa caused by an airborne allergen.
The name Allergic Rhinitis wasn't used until the 20th Century.
The name "Allergic Rhinitis" is the true name of this pathology.
Allergic due to the reaction being made by allergens.
Rhinitis is due to the combination of two Greek words:
The main cause, aroud Spring and Summer, is Pollen.
Being it from Trees or from Grasses.
But Allergic Rhinits can also be due to other airborne allergens. Such as:
On its own, it is not life threatening.
The main problem is when associated with poorly or uncontrolled asthma.
Can also be troublesome for sufferers of Pollen Food Syndrome/Oral Allergy Syndrome.
The most common symptoms are:
Skin prick tests are the main source for diagnosis.
Blood tests can eventually be done, mainly in primary care.
What to do:
Dr Costa is a Consultant Paediatrician and fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.