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Supplementary Material for: A Hospital-Based Survey on Food Allergy in the Population of Kolkata, India

posted on 16.08.2014, 00:00 by Dey D., Ghosh N., Pandey N., Gupta Bhattacharya S.
Background: Food allergy is increasing worldwide, and Asian countries are not the exception. Still, ample data are lacking in India. We conducted a cross-sectional study in a metropolis of Eastern India to record the presence of food allergy among the local population. Methods: The prevalence of food allergy was investigated among patients reporting to The Institute of Child Health and Mediland Diagnostics in Kolkata, India. A total of 5,161 patients were subdivided into 3 age groups and surveyed accordingly. The evaluation was conducted via a questionnaire and a skin prick test. Results: Among the 5,161 patients tested, 4,160 showed a positive response to one or more food items. Banana (32%), brinjal (29%), wheat (22%), and egg (23%) were found to be dominant allergens. Sixty-three percent of patients with a family history of allergy showed either a sudden or an insidious mode of onset, whereas the remaining 37% suffered insidious allergic symptoms with no record of a family history of allergy. Skin rashes, cough, and sneezing were the major symptoms observed. Patients in the age group of 15-40 years were the most susceptible. Conclusion: It has been observed that certain specific foods consumed in specific regions cause allergies that are unique to their respective populations. In the present study, the most commonly consumed foods in the studied area, e.g. banana, brinjal, wheat, and egg, had severe effects on the local population. Complementary studies in other countries as well as in other parts of India will allow us to gain further insight into this fact. Some other influencing factors were found to be genetics, cultural habits, and occupation. Avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the best way to deal with food allergy.