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Update on risk factors for food allergy.

Despite efforts to prevent food allergy (FA) in children, IgE-mediated FAs are increasing in westernized countries. Previous preventive strategies, such as prolonged exclusive breast-feeding and delayed weaning onto solid foods, have recently been called into question. The present review considers possible risk factors and theories for the development of FA. An alternative hypothesis is proposed, suggesting that early cutaneous exposure to food protein through a disrupted skin barrier leads to allergic sensitization and that early oral exposure to food allergen induces tolerance. Novel interventional strategies to prevent the development of FA are also discussed.

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