Food Allergies

Food allergies

Food Allergies: An Overview

Food allergies can be one of the most frustrating and complex allergy issues facing physicians, patients, and families.
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10 Helpful Hints For Coping With Food Allergies

Living with food allergies is a challenging reality for many individuals.  However, do not despair! As you navigate the sometimes stormy waters of food allergies, it is important to know that you are not alone.  And, more importantly, food allergies are manageable. Knowing this, the following are some tips and recommendations that will help you meet the challenges of living healthily with food allergies.
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Reading Food Labels to Prevent Allergic Reactions

Reading food labels is a critical exercise for the growing number of individuals who have a food allergy, now estimated to affect 2 percent of adults and 5 percent of infants and children in the United States.  Food allergic reactions are often unpredictable in their occurrence and severity and can occur after consuming trace amounts of the food protein.
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Food Families

Allergy to one member of a food family can mean allergy to other members of the same botanical family because of shared or cross-reactive allergens.  While many people contend that they are allergic to all seafood, fruits, starches, greasy foods, or spices, in reality they are allergic to a particular food family.  For example, the following food items are not in the same food families, so an individual could be allergic to one food, but not the other.
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Food Additives and Spice Allergy

There are literally hundreds of food additives including colors, flavors, and preservatives, that are added to the foods we eat everyday in order to enhance the flavor, change the color or texture, or to increase the shelf-life of the food product.  Most individuals will come into contact with many of these additives every day as a part of a normal, balanced diet. 
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Corn Allergy

Corn Allergy is a relatively uncommon allergy. Most corn allergy reactions are mild, but severe reactions have been reported. Corn allergy can result in anaphylaxis after the ingestion of corn or corn-related foods, but severe reactions after exposure to cornstarch in surgical gloves have also been reported.
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Delayed Food Allergy Syndrome

The “Delayed Food Allergy Syndrome” (DFAS) is a valid and useful concept which unifies into one diagnosis symptoms so diverse and nonspecific that they are seldom thought of as a unit or as allergic.
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Egg Allergy

Egg allergy is included in the “Big 8” most common food allergies in childhood, affecting between 1-2% of preschool children. Egg allergy usually begins early in life and usually presents in infancy as a rash, including eczema or atopic dermatitis, or gastrointestinal symptoms. Egg allergy symptoms usually decrease over time and may completely disappear by age five to seven years of age. In some cases, the egg allergies may be life-long.
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Milk Allergy

A milk allergy, or milk protein allergy, is a reaction to one or more proteins present in the cow’s milk. There are over 20 proteins in cow’s milk that may cause allergic reactions. Casein and whey are the two main components of cow’s milk responsible for the vast majority of reactions. Casein is the curd that forms when milk is left to sour. The watery part which is left after the curd is removed is called whey.
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Oral Allergy Syndrome

The Oral Allergy Syndrome is the most common food-related allergy in adults.  In actuality, this is not a direct food allergy, but rather represents cross-reactivity between distant remnants of tree or weed pollen still found in certain fruits and vegetables.  Therefore, this phenomenon is only seen in tree and weed allergic patients, and is limited to ingestion of only uncooked fruits or vegetables.
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Peanut Allergy

Peanut allergy has been increasing steadily in frequency and this fact has caught the attention of medical researchers, physicians, the media, and the peanut consuming public. The fact that peanut allergies have become “epidemic” is not surprising in light of the fact that the United States Peanut Council estimates that the average American ingests about 11 pounds of peanut products each year; about 55% as peanut butter and the rest in sweets, baked goods, and table nuts. America ranks third in the world in peanut production, behind only China and India. Interestingly, even though the consumption of peanuts per capita is similar in the United States and China, the prevalence of peanut allergy is much higher in America.
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Seafood Allergy

Shellfish allergy, and seafood allergy, is one of the most common causes of severe allergy reactions in adults. Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies. It is estimated that 6.9 million of them have fish allergy and/or shellfish allergy.
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Sesame Allergy

The sesame seed, tiny in size, represents a growing danger as a food that can cause severe allergies.  Sesame is in a family of seeds that also includes poppy seed, flaxseed, sunflower seed, buckwheat, mustard, and pine nut.
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Soy Allergy

A soy allergy is an abnormal response of the body to the proteins found in soy. Soybeans are classified as a legume. Other foods in the legume family are navy, kidney, string, black and pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, carob, licorice, and peanuts. Allergy to one legume can often be in association with sensitivity to another legume.
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Tree Nut Allergy

It is estimated that 1%-2% of the United States population is allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, or both. In general, tree nut allergy has been considered a lifelong allergy. However, a recent article in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology suggests that approximately 9% of children with an allergy to tree nuts will outgrow their allergy, including children who have previously experienced a severe allergic reaction.
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Wheat Allergy

Wheat allergy refers specifically to adverse reactions involving immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to one or more proteins of wheat, including albumin, globulin, gliadin and glutenin (gluten). The majority of true allergic reactions to wheat involve the albumin and globulin fractions. Gliadin and gluten may also, rarely, induce an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to wheat are most commonly caused by ingestion of wheat-containing foods, although inhalation of flour containing wheat (Baker’s asthma) can induce symptoms.
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Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) is a condition that was literally unheard of 20 years ago. However, over the last five years, the recognition and diagnosis of this condition has risen dramatically. It is difficult to say whether the increased frequency of EE is due to an increased level of suspicion, to better diagnostic techniques, or whether the disease has actually become more common.
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Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome, commonly known as FPIES, is a relatively rare, but potentially severe condition in newborns and infants. This condition often presents in the first few weeks or months of life, or at an older age in the exclusively breastfed baby. In exclusively nursing infants, symptoms may first present upon the introduction of commercial formula or solid foods such as cereals, which typically contain cow’s milk, soy, or another offending protein. Symptoms occur only when the newborn or infant has ingested the offending protein, and does not occur from breast milk, regardless of the maternal diet.
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