20 percent of adults in the United States believe they have food allergies. A new study in the Journal “JAMA Network Open” put that number closer to one person in 10. Only one in 20 Americans have been diagnosed by a doctor as having food allergies.
Researchers at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine interviewed 400,000 people and came to the conclusion that the number was really one in 10 who had an allergy to food. The most common allergies were shellfish, an allergy 7.2 million adults claim to have. Other allergies include; peanuts (affecting 4.5 million adults), milk (affecting 4.7 million adults), shellfish (7.2 million), tree nuts (3 million), wheat 92 million), eggs (2 million), sesame seeds (500,000), and soy (1.5 million).
Half of the people who have food allergies developed it as an adult. 38 percent had allergic reactions severe enough that they had to be hospitalized.
In December of last year, the star of “The Real Housewives of New York” Bethenny Frankel almost died from an allergic reaction to fish.
Franklin Tweeted on Dec. 17 that she has an allergy to fish. She reported that she ate soup and for 15 minutes was unconscious. She then went to the hospital and was placed in ICU, not being able to see or talk.
On November 20, 2010, Kourtney Kardashian’s son 11-month-old Mason ate peanut butter and had an allergic reaction. Within minutes he vomited and broke out in hives. Kardashian called 911 and was brought to the hospital.
Britney Spears 2-year-old son Jayden was rushed to the hospital in Nov. 2008 having had a reaction to something he ate. Spears stated he developed hives and was irritable.
In 2017 the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease updated their guideline on how to treat peanut allergies. They suggested parents introduce peanuts in small amounts to the children while they are infants. By doing so, this may lower the risk of having them develop peanut allergies.
Dr. Aikaterini Anagnostou, director of the food immunotherapy program at Texas Children’s Hospital, stated food allergies are increasing. He also said that guidelines must be followed when introducing food to babies to stop allergies from developing.
Scientists from Northwestern University and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital interviewed 40,000 adults. 10.8% stated they have severe allergies and symptoms such as anaphylactic shock and tightening throat, and 8.2% stated that they had allergies but no symptoms.
Ruchi Guta, the lead author of the study, said that one in 10 adults did have a food allergy. Twice as many think they have a food allergy, but it is really a food intolerance.
It is important to see a doctor and be tested for allergies before eliminating food from one’s diet. If a food allergy is verified one must be taught how to handle the food allergy, recognize symptoms and learn how to use epinephrine.
Half of the individuals who have a severe allergy actually had that allergy verified by a doctor. Less than half of those individuals who have been diagnosed with an allergy have a prescription for an “EpiPen” (epinephrine).
Written By Barbara Sobel
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