The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 6.3% of adults and 5.8% of children in the U.S. have food allergies. Nine out of ten of these allergies are caused by the following foods:
- Tree nuts
Eggs, milk, and peanuts cause the most allergies among children. Children often outgrow allergies, but peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish are allergens that often remain throughout their lifetime.
Allergy Symptoms Vary
For some people, the reaction to a food allergy may be mild; for others, it can be life threatening. According to the FDA, symptoms might include:
- Flushed skin or rash
- Swelling of lips, tongue, and/or mouth
- Tingling or itchy sensation in mouth
- Swelling of throat or vocal chords
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Coughing or wheezing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
In Case of an Allergic Reaction:
- Stop eating the food immediately.
- Evaluate the need for medical intervention such as epinephrine (injection using an autoinjector such as the EpiPen®).
- Seek medical attention.
For less severe reactions that might include a few hives, mild swelling of the lip, runny nose, or vomiting once, an antihistamine like Benadryl® or Zyrtec® will work.
The FDA advises if you, your child, or another family member has an allergy, follow these tips:
- Always read food labels.
- Avoid foods that you or your family member are allergic to.
- Learn to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction and advise your child’s teacher about the symptoms, too.
- Know what to do in case an allergic reaction occurs. Plan ahead to have the proper medication on hand and access to emergency care.