Ten years ago this week, I launched AllergyKids. Our goal was to provide free information about this condition to families that were dealing with it. Little did we know what this work would become or how quickly this condition would escalate.
Today, the numbers are jaw-dropping, and this condition is changing the food industry. Families around the country are reading labels like never before, and with that comes a food awakening and a demand to #dumpthejunk.
Food allergy is an immune disease that causes the body to have an allergic reaction to food. This allergic reaction can manifest as a range of symptoms. These symptoms can include hives and itching or more systemic symptoms (anaphylaxis) including difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and ultimately, death. A recent study shows this disease has increased by about 50% in children over the past 20 years and continues to increase. There are now at least 6 million children in the U.S. with food allergy and about 9 million adults. A life threatening allergic reaction sends someone to the emergency room once every three minutes.
These individuals are most likely to be allergic to one or more of the top eight most common food allergens, which include cow’s milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. But we are quickly learning about an increasing number of Americans who are allergic to corn, beef, chicken and even things like lettuce.
Many of us know someone who has a life-threatening food allergy so it is important for us to learn more about what foods are most likely to cause reactions and what symptoms to look for when reactions happen. It is also helpful to know how to keep those with food allergy safe. When severe reactions do happen, it is important to give injectable epinephrine immediately and to call for emergency medical help.
The infographic below explains what you need to know about protecting kids with food allergies. You can also visit the Bunning Food Allergy Institute to learn about how we care for kids with food allergies.