Food Allergies on The Rise – Looking at The Top 8 Most Common

Allergies to food is an ongoing and potentially life altering medical condition that is often unexpected and unwanted.

Each year, thousands of children, adolescents, and even adults deal with the pleathera of symptoms, from mild to severe, that are associated with food.

The variety of food that can cause allergies is wide and difficult. But research has shown that 80% of individuals that have a food allergy will have one or more of the top eight food allergies.

Children have a risk factor of up to 8% while adults hover around 2%.  That means that almost 1 in 10 children will have some sort of allergy to food, while adults is more in the range of 1 in 50.

The response to allergies can be very mild to very severe, even anaphylaxis which is a risk for death. Studies have indicated that for an unknown reason, the presence of anaphylaxis as a result of food is on the rise.

 

Risk Factors

  • Family member having Asthma
  • Family member having Allergies (in general)
  • Family member having Allergies to Food
  • Elevated blood levels of specif allergy related serum immunoglobins.
  • Younger than age of 3

 

Severity

Severity is the symptomatic result of coming into contact – skin, air, or consumption of an allergy.

Exposure to type of food may get a “stronger” reaction than at other times.

Mild symptoms may become more severe.

Or….an obvious different reaction from one person to another may be seen.

Allergy response may be worse when younger and less severe when older.

Some individuals will have minimal symptoms while others may have anaphylactic or serious symptoms.

Each year in the U.S., it is estimated that anaphylaxis to foods results in approximately:

  • 30,000 emergency room visits
  • 2,000 hospitalizations
  • 150 deaths

 

Symptoms:

  • Throat itching
  • Throat tingling
  • Face, tongue, or throat swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Skin changes
  • Itching and Scratching
  • Nose running
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Throat closing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of Consciousness

 

Top 8 Food Allergies  (Alphabetical order only)

1.)  Eggs

  • Can be found in Breads, deserts, mayonnaise and other baked goods.
  • Alternatives include: Hummus, tofu, and others.

 

 

2.)  Fish

  • Certain types of fish may be Tuna, Catfish, Salmon, Talapia, Cod, Flounder, and more.
  • May or May not have allergy to shellfish
  • Can be found in imitation crab meat
  • Alternatives include:  Canned Chicken, Deli meats, or other types of meat.

 

3.)  Milk

  • Whey = Milk
  • This includes cow products and all food products
  • Butter, cheese, cream cheese, half and half
  • Cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, pudding
  • Some (but not all) are sensitive to goat’s milk and sheep’s milk as well.
  • Alternatives include:  rice, soy, or almond milk

 

4.)  Peanuts

  • Can be found as peanut butter, peanut oil, mixed nuts.
  • Should also avoid tree nuts.
  • Very commonly used along with chocolate, granola bars, some candy, and certain meals.
  • Alternatives include:  apples, bananas and/or honey on sandwiches, cream cheese when dipping, others.

 

5.)  Shellfish (Seafood)

  • Shrimp, crab, lobster,
  • Clams, Scallops, crayfish, and more.
  • Should also be concerned about allergy to Fish.
  • Can be found in soups, certain meals, fish stock, and more
  • Alternatives include: Deli meats, meat in general, vegetables, and more.

 

6.)  Soybean

  • Lecithin = Soy
  • Tofu, Soy milk, edamame
  • Soybeans, Soy protein, Soy sause
  • Soy nuts, Tamari, Miso, others
  • Can be seen in certain meals, deli meats, some vegetable broths, infant formulas, soups, and more.
  • Alternatives include: Wheat gluten (seitan), Rice milk, Almond milk, others.

 

7.)  Tree nuts

  • Almonds, cashews, pistachios
  • Walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts, chestnuts, macadamia nuts,
  • Pine nuts, and more
  • Can be seen in some cereals, granola bars, some candy and more
  • Should avoid peanuts as well
  • Alternatives include: Dried fruits, cereal, raisins, and more.

 

8.)  Wheat

  • Flour = Wheat
  • Can be found in breads, pasta, cereals
  • Bran, Wheat germ, Semolina
  • Snacks, foods, and many more.
  • Alternatives include: Noodles, different pastas, corn tortillas, others.

 

Treatment

Depends of severity

1.)  Food Avoidance

2.)  Allergy medications:

  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
  • Diphenhydramine  (Benedryl)
  • and others

3.)  Topic medications

4.)  Taking a bath

5.)  Epi-pen – Epinephrine used for anaphylactic reactions

 

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