Myth #1: If you got through childhood without a food allergy, you’re home free
Fact: Food allergies can develop at any age.
Myth #2: Peanuts are the only seriously dangerous food.
Fact: You can develop anaphylaxis to a number of foods like tree nuts, fish, shellfish and milk.
Corollary myth #3: If you’re allergic to peanuts, you’ll have an anaphylactic reaction if you’re exposed.
Fact: Not everyone who is allergic to peanuts has severe reactions. They can be mild, such as itching, rashes and having trouble breathing.
Food allergies are more common than ever. It’s estimated that 7% of children and 4% of adults suffer from food allergies in the United States. Surprisingly, only eight foods are responsible for 90 % of all food allergies. They include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
Symptoms of a food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating. A food allergy can initially present as a itching in the mouth, difficulty swallowing and breathing. Later, during digestion of the food in the stomach and intestines, you may have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Food intolerance is often confused with an allergy.
High risk factors for having food allergies
- Genetics: A child with one allergic parent has a 33% chance of developing allergies. With both parents having allergies, 70%.
- Environmental factors: The way a food is prepared can make it more or less allergenic. For instance, dry-roasted peanuts are more allergenic than raw or boiled peanuts. Skin exposure to a food like peanuts can raise your risk (many soaps, shampoos or other products have peanut oil in them). Stomach acidity and bacteria flora in the gut are also important factors in food allergies.
- Antibiotics: New studies show that taking antibiotics early in life can “clean out” helpful gut flora, making a child more susceptible to developing food allergies. A number of studies have found that taking probiotics can restore the good flora and decrease the chances of developing food allergies.If you think you have a food allergy, contact us to get tested. We can help.