Sneezing, itching, watery eyes – we all know what common environmental allergy symptoms look like, but what happens to our bodies when that allergic reaction is caused by the foods we eat? Most people are familiar with the incline of food allergies, especially amongst our little ones. If you are curious about food allergies and how they may be affecting your family, check out these 10 important facts.
1. Food allergies are on the rise.
An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, and that number is growing at a steady pace. There is no clear answer explaining why, but food allergies are on the rise every year. Increasing about 50% from 1997 to 2011, approximately one in every 13 kids help make up that number.
2. Food allergies aren’t the same as food intolerances.
Despite sometimes exhibiting similar symptoms, food intolerance is often mistaken for an allergy, but it is not always that serious. While uncomfortable and annoying, an intolerance is non-life threatening and much easier to manage, unlike an allergy.
3. Food allergies do not discriminate.
They can begin at any age and affect anyone, regardless of sex, race or geographic location. Parents with any type of allergic disease are more likely to have children with food allergies, especially if their conditions include asthma or eczema.
4. Eight foods account for almost all allergic reactions.
Ninety percent of food allergies are caused by eight foods – eggs, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Sesame has recently been known to cause allergic reactions as well.
5. A food allergy may be related to other medical conditions.
Kids with food allergies are more than two times as likely to suffer from other allergic diseases, such as asthma, atopic dermatitis or environmental allergies.
6. Symptoms of allergic reactions can vary.
Some reactions appear in the form of hives and itchiness, swelling of the lips and mouth, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. More severe reactions can require immediate medical attention. Regardless of the severity, if you witness your child displaying any of these symptoms, immediately remove that food from their diet and consult a medical professional for an allergy test.
7. Some reactions can be fatal.
The most extreme and devastating allergic reaction to certain foods results in anaphylaxis, which can be fatal if untreated. Anaphylaxis can usually be identified by extreme difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, a spike in heart rate and even loss of consciousness. If ever encountered with any of these symptoms, rush your little one to the emergency room immediately.
8. Teens and young adults are the most susceptible to harsh reactions.
Although food allergies can affect anyone, teens and young adults are the most at risk of suffering from anaphylaxis.
9. There is no cure for food allergies.
Unfortunately at this time, the only cure for food allergies lies in the method of prevention, so always make sure to have your little ones allergy tested, and keep them away from any foods which may trigger symptoms.
10. Some food allergies can be outgrown.
With any luck, your kids may actually be able to outgrow their food allergies. Milk, soy and egg allergies are the most common to disappear over time, with many kids living allergy-free lives by the time they are only 16-years-old. As for the other usual suspects, peanuts and shellfish especially, these allergies are more likely to stick around for life, so it is always best to implement good habits at an early age.
All information sourced from foodallergy.org.