Most Common Food Allergies

Food allergy is an immediate and abnormal reaction or response to food proteins called allergens which are contained in various foods like milk, eggs, etc. Normally the immune system produces antibodies to ward off diseases and infections that attack our immune system but in the case of a food allergy the body identifies a food allergen as harmful for the body which may not actually be and responds by producing antibodies against them too which causes immediate allergic reactions when the allergen comes in contact with the skin or is inhaled or when eaten.

Food allergies occur a few minutes or hours from having come in contact with the food allergen in any form. The severity however varies from person to person. The initial stages or symptoms suffered by a person affected with a food allergy are a running nose, sneezing, etc. Severe allergic reactions caused due to allergens can be life threatening like asthma and swelling up of the tongue, throat, lip, etc.

Nearly 50 – 90% of all severe allergies to foods are caused by only 8 foods. These foods can be blamed for triggering 90% of the food allergies. Shellfish, fish, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and milk are the most common food allergies. These food allergies have their own unique challenges. The common food allergies for adults and children differ. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), in the USA 2% of the adults and 2-8% of the children are true food allergic. Most children outgrow their allergic reactions to wheat, milk or eggs in early childhood, while adults develop new allergic reactions in later life.

Most common food allergies

The most common foods that cause allergic reactions in children and adults alike include the following:
Most Common Food Allergies
Milk – Cow’s milk allergy is the most common allergic reaction in children of United States. Nearly, 2.5% of children suffer from this allergy. And moreover children subsist on milk for quite some time before they depend on any other food. This is not a major allergen in adults. About 80% of children outgrow this allergy at the age of 6.

Peanuts – About 0.6% of adults and 1.4% of children are allergic to peanuts. Recent studies showed that the rate of allergic reactions to peanuts is increasing in United States among the children. This allergy is very severe, with higher rates of anaphylaxis than wheat, milk or eggs. They may also tend to be lifelong allergies. Just 20% of children outgrow peanut allergy by the age of 6. There are places where peanuts are not allowed at all, for example, elementary schools. Many food joints follow the strict rule of cautioning its customers if peanut is used in preparing the foods.

Shellfish – This is the most common food allergy among adults. 0.1% of children in America suffer from shellfish allergy. 2% of adults in United States are allergic to shellfish. Unlike other allergies, fish and shellfish are allergies which develop later in life. They may tend to be severe allergies. Shellfishes like crab, lobster and shrimp are very common among seafood that trigger allergy.

Tree nuts – 1.1% of American children suffer from tree nut allergies, while 0.5% adults suffer from tree nut allergy. Tree nuts such as walnuts, cashews, hazel nuts, and almonds etc can trigger allergic reactions. Like peanut allergy, even the rate of allergic reactions to tree nuts is increasing in America. These allergies may last throughout the life and also have high rates of anaphylactic shocks compared to wheat, milk or eggs. Only 9% of children will overcome this allergic reaction by the age of six.

Eggs Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy in children. Allergy from egg is caused due to the white of the egg, though in case of egg allergy the yolk should also be avoided. These are not the major allergens in adults but 1.5% of children are allergic to eggs. Nearly 80% of children overcome this allergic reaction by the age of 6.

Fish – 0.1% of children are allergic to fish and 0.4% of adults are allergic to fish. One can also be allergic to one species of fish only. These allergic reactions develop in adulthood and may become severe.

Soy – Adults are not more susceptible to soy allergy compared to children. 0.4% of children in United States have soy allergy. 50% of children can outgrow this allergic reaction.
Wheat – Many people are allergic to wheat. Wheat allergy is very problematic because a large number of food products contain wheat. A wheat allergic person is likely to be affected by related grains as well. 0.4% of children in United States develop allergic reactions to wheat. Approximately 80% of them will outgrow wheat allergy by the age of 6.

Other common food allergens

Other common food allergens include the following:

• Soya beans
• Yeast
• Cashew nuts
• Garlic
• Corn
• Oats
• Lentils
• Pepper
• Sesame seeds
• Sunflower seeds

Most Common Food Intolerances

Most people confuse food allergies with food intolerance. While food allergies can be fatal, food intolerance is not. Experts assert that food intolerance is caused when the body is simply unable to tolerate or handle a food. Food allergies are dangerous and can cause more harm than food intolerance. Food intolerance causes gas, bloating etc. due to the consumption of particular food. However, it is not as harmful as food allergies caused not only by a particular food but by related food also.

Foods that can cause mere food intolerance include the following:

• Dairy products
• Wheat
• Peanuts
• Tree nuts

Experts suggest that one should maintain a diary of foods he or she is allergic to and should immediately refer to a doctor or dermatologist for further treatment when one suffers immediate and recurring allergic reactions from a particular food allergen.

The doctor conducts skin prick tests or blood tests to determine the antibodies reacting to a particular food allergen. The best way to treat allergic reactions is to manage them well explain experts. However, doctors recommend epinephrine shots for severe allergic reactions in some people.

Making oneself and others prepared for an allergic reaction is the most practical way to deal with one claim experts. So equip yourself to face the worst conditions of an allergic reaction to any food allergen.