Rise and Shine shared in its blog that ccording to Children’s National Director of the Food Allergy Program, Hemant Prashad Sharma, M.D, about 1 in 13 kids have a food allergy. A food allergy is an adverse reaction to a specific food that the body thinks is harmful, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The immune system in someone with food allergy produces immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody, to fight the food allergen. As a result, when the person is exposed to that food, IgE binds to it and causes the release of a number of chemicals, including histamine. This leads to an allergic reaction.

Some common food allergens include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and macadamia nuts)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat

Common food allergy symptoms include:

  • Skin and mucous membranes:
    • Hives, redness, and swelling of the face or extremities
    • Itching and swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth and throat
  • Gastrointestinal tract:
    • Nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Respiratory system:
    • Runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Cardiovascular system:
    • Hypotension (low blood pressure), dizziness and syncope (fainting)

Any of these food allergies can lead to a severe, life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. It is estimated that food-induced anaphylaxis is the reason for about 200,000 emergency department visits each year.

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