Food Allergies

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A food allergy occurs when the immune system responds to a harmless food as if it were a threat. The first time a person with food allergy is exposed to the food, no symptoms occur. But the body has been now been primed, and when the person eats the food again, an allergic response occurs.


An allergic reaction to food usually takes place within a few minutes to several hours after exposure to the allergen. The process of eating and digesting food and the location of immune cells involved in the allergic reaction process both affect the timing and location of the reaction.

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Food Allergies

  1. 1. Fitango Education Health Topics Food Allergieshttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122
  2. 2. Overview A food allergy occurs when the immune system responds to a harmless food as if it were a threat. The first time a person with food allergy is exposed to the food, no symptoms occur. But the body has been now been primed, and when the person eats the food again, an allergic response occurs.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 1
  3. 3. Overview An allergic reaction to food usually takes place within a few minutes to several hours after exposure to the allergen. The process of eating and digesting food and the location of immune cells involved in the allergic reaction process both affect the timing and location of the reaction.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 2
  4. 4. Prevention You can only prevent the symptoms of food allergy by avoiding the allergenic food. After you and your healthcare professional have identified the food(s) to which you are sensitive, you must remove them from your diet.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 3
  5. 5. Prevention **Read food labels** Read the list of ingredients on the label of each prepared food that you are considering eating. Many allergens, such as peanut, egg, and milk, may appear in prepared foods you normally would not associate them with.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 4
  6. 6. Prevention **Read food labels** Since 2006, U.S. food manufacturers have been required by law to list the ingredients of prepared foods. In addition, food manufacturers must use plain language to disclose whether their products contain (or may contain) any of the top eight allergenic foods—egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, shellfish, and fish. **Keep clean**http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 5
  7. 7. Prevention **Read food labels** Simple measures of cleanliness can remove most allergens from the environment of a person with food allergy. For example, simply washing your hands with soap and water will remove peanut allergens, and most household cleaners will remove allergens from surfaces.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 6
  8. 8. Treatment **Unintentional exposure** When you have food allergies, you must be prepared to treat an unintentional exposure. Talk to your healthcare professional and develop a plan to protect yourself in case of an unintentional exposure to the food. For example, you should take the following steps:http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 7
  9. 9. Treatment **Unintentional exposure** -- Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace -- Carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine (adrenaline) -- Seek medical help immediatelyhttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 8
  10. 10. Facts -- There are eight major food allergens in the United States: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts), soy, wheat, fi sh, and crustacean shellfish (lobster, crabs, shrimp). -- In the United States, food allergy affects an estimated 5 percent of children under the age of 5 and an estimated 4 percent of people aged 5 and older.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 9
  11. 11. Facts -- The prevalence of food allergy increased by 18 percent from 1997 to 2007. -- Estimated prevalence rates in the United States for individual food allergens include the following: -- Peanut: 0.6 percent -- Tree nuts: 0.4–0.5 percenthttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 10
  12. 12. Facts -- Milk and egg: no reliable data available from U.S. studies, but based on data obtained outside the United States, this rate is likely to be 1 to 2 percent for young children -- All seafood: 0.6 percent in children and 2.8 percent in adultshttp://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 11
  13. 13. Facts -- Most children eventually outgrow milk, egg, soy, and wheat allergy. Outgrowing a childhood food allergy may occur as late as the teenage years. -- Children are much less likely to outgrow peanut and tree nut allergy. -- If someone has food allergy, he or she is more likely to have asthma or eczema.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 12
  14. 14. Facts -- A person is more likely to have a severe allergic reaction to food if he or she also has asthma or if he or she has previously had an anaphylactic reaction. -- Allergic reactions to food can range from mild to life-threatening.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 13
  15. 15. Facts -- A person cannot tell how severe his or her next food-allergic reaction will be based on the severity of previous reactions. -- Even with attempts to avoid food, accidental exposures leading to an allergic reaction do occur at a rate of nearly once per year in young children who are highly allergic.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 14
  16. 16. Facts -- Because of the high risk of allergic reactions to food, many people with food allergy are prescribed auto-injector epinephrine, which should be with them at all times.http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=122 15

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