Thursday, March 27, 2014

Food Allergy- the ugly, the bad, the good....

Peanut, egg, milk, seafood are common culprits of food allergy.  Severe and deadly reactions drive schools to be nut free and to have anaphylaxis plans in place.  But why the increase?  Why the severity?  Are there potential treatments or even a way of curing food allergy?

What's the ugly, the bad and the good for food allergy?

The Ugly
  • Food allergies affect about 8% of children and 5% of adults
  • These numbers have risen from by more than 50% since 1999
  • Peanut allergy increased from 0.4% to 1.4% over the same time period
  • Every 3 minutes someone has an allergic reaction to food sending them to the emergency room
  • Having food allergies doesn't potentially cause just a severe allergic reaction, but is associated with bullying, increased anxiety, and a lower quality of life.
The Bad
  • Eight foods account for 90 % of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.
  • Risk factors for developing food allergies include:  male, race, family history of allergy, low vitamin D levels, and food preparation.  
  • Bottom line though is we don't know what causes food allergy.  There is probably a complex interaction between genetics and the environment leading causing the increase.
The Good
  • Can you out grow food allergy?  
    • Yes, luckily milk, egg, wheat and soy allergy generally resolve with age!  Unfortunately peanut and tree nut allergy persist.
  • Is there a potential treatment for food allergy?
    • Yes!
    • Research and trials are being done on slow oral desensitization for milk, egg, and peanut allergy.
    • Results are promising so stay tuned for updates.
Do you have food allergies and need help? Call the office so we can formalize an individual plan for you 212-679-3574 or schedule an appointment here.

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