Book review - Health & Living - What not to eat

Food Allergies: A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends on It claims to pose the questions that anyone with food allergies will think to ask “and then some”. Having read through the book, which is set out in an easy to read question-answer format, this would certainly seem to be the case.

Written by Scott H Sicherer, professor of paediatrics and chief of the Division of Paediatric Allergy and Immunology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the book addresses the full spectrum of food allergies, from mild to life threatening, from single foods to food families, clearing up misconceptions along the way.

Prof Sicherer explains the basics and takes us through the facts about food allergy: what it is; the immune system and the role played by IgE antibodies; the symptoms and illnesses; the differential diagnosis of intolerance; prevalence; and a very comprehensive list of causes. He also recommends tests for diagnosing both food allergies and chronic health problems caused by food allergies – such as eczema, hives, and respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Food Allergies offers practical, emotional, and scientific guidance on the aspects of allergy that affect your life.

The book thoroughly explains how to prevent exposure to a known allergen at home, at school, in restaurants and generally out and about. It describes what to do if exposure occurs, including how to react in an anaphylactic emergency. Sicherer also advises how to ensure that adequate nutrition is reached when you must avoid dietary staples. He discusses whether allergies are ever overcome – while they can disappear for a period of time, they are likely to return.

In the foreword, Maria Laura Acebal of Food Allergy Research & Education, comments that the book is destined to be “earmarked and underlined” and that its pages “are an incredible resource for foodallergic individuals as well as for parents, families, and schools – in short, anyone who cares about someone with food allergies” and, as someone prone to atopy, I would have to agree.

- Alison Moore

Book review - Health & Living - What not to eat

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