National Food Allergy Awareness week is May 10-16, 2015! In 1998, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, now FARE, created Food Allergy Awareness Week to educate the public about food allergies, a potentially life-threatening medical condition. Many people are unaware that they have a food allergy until they experience a reaction to a particular food they eat.
- Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans and that 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18 have food allergies.Food allergies among children have risen approximately 50% from 1997 to 2011.
- A food allergy is an immune systems response to a food that the body believes is harmful. A reaction can affect the respiratory system (wheezing, can’t breathe), the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, constipation), the skin (rashes and hives), and or the cardiovascular system (rapid or slowed down heart rate).
- Severe reactions, or anaphylaxis, can come on quickly and has the potential to be life threatening. Always call 9-1-1 and immediately treat with epinephrine (adrenaline) if someone is having a severe reaction.
- Eight foods account for 90 percent of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.
- You can outgrow an allergy. Allergies to cow’s milk, egg and soy tend to start in childhood but are outgrown as you get older. Nut and shellfish allergies tend to be lifelong.
- Currently there is no cure for food allergies.
What can you do if you have a food allergy:
- Avoidance of any food allergens that you might is important to prevent reactions
- Read labels of food carefully. Many companies have warnings if the product had potential to come in contact with an allergen.
- Early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences. If you suspect you have a food allergy, get tested!
- If you have a severe food allergy, consider getting a medical bracelet that list your allergy and where you might carry your epinephrine!