Food allergies are allergic reactions to food proteins. Proteins that trigger allergies are known as allergens. The most common allergens are in milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.
Studies show that 6–8 percent of children under the age of three have a true food allergy, compared to 1–2 percent of adults.
In a true allergic reaction the person will experience a variety of symptoms such as:
Itching of the lips, mouth, or throat
Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction and usually takes place within the first hour after eating the offending food. Shock and respiratory failure can rapidly happen.
Finding the Culprit
When a food is recognized as the culprit, elimination from the diet is a must. With the approval of a physician, all suspected foods are slowly reintroduced, one by one, on a specific schedule. Intake and reactions are carefully monitored.
Replacing the Nutrients
It is important that if someone has an allergy to a food with important nutrients they should find an alternate to replace that food. For example, if a person has a milk allergy they are lacking Calcium and Vitamin D and should find an appropriate substitute to replace those nutrients.
Most children outgrow food allergies by the time they are 3 years old. Once outgrown, the food allergy will not return.
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