Between 2001 and 2005, researchers estimate that Americans made just over a million visits to the ER for allergic reactions to food.
These latest findings, reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggest that the numbers are now significantly higher.
“While severe, life-threatening food-related allergic reactions are still relatively uncommon, our study suggests that they are more common than previously thought,” lead researcher Sunday Clark, of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.
In a study published earlier this year, she and her colleagues found evidence that more children are turning up in ERs with serious food reactions than in years past.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three million school-aged children in the U.S. had a food allergy in 2007, which was up 18 percent from 10 years earlier.
No one is sure why food allergies are being diagnosed more frequently. One theory is that changes in kids’ diets are a contributor. Children today often eat excessive amounts of sugars, sweets, and allergens. Another theory, known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” holds that modern cleanliness provides less exposure to germs early in life and may make the immune system more prone to attack normally benign substances, including food proteins.
Comment: Allergies involve the immune system whereas intolerances do not. Allergies typically cause redness, itching, tightness of the throat, shortness of breath or anaphylactic shock. Intolerances tend to cause complex reactions such as digestive upset and or headaches, and worsen as you eat increasing amounts of the food.
The most common triggers of food allergies include milk, eggs, soy, fish, wheat, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
Comment: Intolerances can include the above triggers and include gluten, corn, fructose, lactose and artificial additives.
Food allergy symptoms range from the relatively mild — limited to problems like tingling in the mouth, hives or upset stomach — to the more severe signs of anaphylaxis. Those include dizziness or fainting, difficulty breathing and a sudden drop in blood pressure that can lead to shock.
Excerpted from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Online December 17, 2010. Comments Added.
Enteromend helps patients by reducing food reactions, removing gluten fragments and other foreign proteins, and reducing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Health Concerns has protocols to reduce and prevent allergy symptoms. Andrew Gaeddert has also developed an eating program, The Digestive Clearing Plan that helps people identify their food intolerances. It is found in Andrew’s book Healing Digestive Disorders.