Food allergies are an epidemic in the United States, with nearly ten percent of kids and almost five percent of adults suffering from such issues. Even a tiny amount of a substance that cross contaminates into a meal can cause life-threatening issues. Dealing with these allergies is a major concern for many people. Here are some tips on how to manage your food allergies when you are out and about in a dangerous world.
Allergies on the Rise
While scientists are not yet sure exactly why this is happening, it’s generally agreed that instances of food allergies are rising fast. There are a couple of prominent theories regarding this phenomenon. One is the so-called “hygiene hypothesis” which suggests that our concern about cleanliness and avoiding germs has skewed our immune systems to a form that more readily develops allergies. Another is that we worry about exposing infants to allergenic substances, which harms their ability to tolerate such substances when children eventually do contact them.
For example, just fifteen years ago the American Academy of Pediatrics said that children should not be exposed to peanuts until the age of three. Now, however, it is recommended that kids be exposed to peanuts as early as four months depending on their clinical history.
Treatment of food allergies
Avoidance is the only course currently available for the management of food allergies. Keep in mind the warning signs and carefully read food labels for culprit allergens to which you are sensitized. The eight most common allergens include milk, fish, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soybeans and wheat. Any time you see these foods on a label, and you have a known allergy, there is the risk of triggering an allergic reaction.
When you eat out, carry a card with you that details your allergies, which you can hand to the waitress or manager for the chef. Request the use of a clean pan and utensils that have not been potentially cross-contaminated. While restaurants do their best, you need to take responsibility to manage your food allergies. If you experience hives, itching, swollen throat or face, or any other allergy symptoms, don’t delay. Call a doctor immediately. It could save your life.
If you would like help to manage your food allergies in the Atlanta area and would like more information, check out our allergies page and give us a call for a consult today!