Currently in the U.S., food allergies affect 2% of the general population, and 6% to 8% of children. Many children outgrow their food allergies by adulthood. However, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and seafood are seldom outgrown.
About 35% of children with moderate-to-severe eczema have IgE-mediated food allergies. About 6% of children who have asthma have food-induced exacerbations. Seems like small numbers, right. Wrong – millions are affected.
Responses to Allergens are Regional
Both food and airborne (inhalant) Allergens – the things that we respond to with allergic reaction – are regional. That is, people in Finland or anywhere else are allergic to different things than Americans are.
For example, the Finnish are not generally exposed to peanuts like Americans are, so they don’t really have an opportunity to develop allergies to peanuts to the same level that Americans do.
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Even Americans living in Georgia are allergic to different things than Americans living in California. So, allergies are relative to where you grew up, where you live now – your allergies are a product of exposure to allergens, combined with your unique immune reaction.
With that in mind, here is a list of the
Top 10 Food Allergens in the US:
- Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, etc)
- Shellfish and other seafood
- Gluten – a protein commonly found in wheat, but also in barley, rye, and some other grains.
- Milk and egg allergies are the most common food allergies in children
- Fish and shellfish are the most common food allergies in adults
- Here in the US, peanut and tree nut allergies trigger the most fatal and near fatal reactions – anaphylaxis
What to do with this information?
If you believe that you or your child has an allergy, or intolerance, to any food, see an allergist.
For your child, a Pediatric Allergist will be best. Their office and clinic staff will be dedicated to the care of children. They will be more familiar with the common allergic reactions in children, how to test for allergies in children, and how to treat allergies in children.
Check out Dr. Janice Joneja’s Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children, for less than $20 at Amazon (affiliate link). She also has a more general, and very practical guide, Dealing with Food Allergies: A Practical Guide to Detecting Culprit Foods, and Eating a Healthy, Enjoyable Diet, also less than $20, also at Amazon.
Let me mention here that Dr. Joneja has generously given me time for several interviews that I have recorded for podcast download. She has over 30 years experience with food allergies and food intolerance. She approached this field from the perspective of a scientist (PhD in Immunology and Microbiology), but also from the view of a mother with a very sick child – asthma, eczema, and food allergies. I will give her a full introduction soon, and will post the recordings for free podcast download. They are a wealth of information!
Stay informed, stay healthy.
I promise to continue to work hard to help empower you with knowledge: to improve your health and the health of your children. RF
littlestomaks.com, Preventing Food Allergies, http://www.littlestomaks.com/2010/07/preventing-food-allergies/
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology on Food Allergy:
The Journal, Pediatrics, on Food Allergies in Children (PDF):
The Journal, Pediatrics in Review, on Food-induced Anaphylaxis and Oral Allergy Syndrome:
Dr. Janice Joneja’s website, http://www.allergynutrition.com/ , is a valuable resource for anyone with food intolerance or food allergies. The best on the web!! I urge your to read her story there, but also to check out the many free resources.