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Allergy Awareness Week

Posted on 3rd May 2015 by Marlene

In 1998, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, now referred to as FARE (Food Alergy Research & Education), created Food Allergy Awareness Week to educate the public about food allergies, "a potentially life-threatening medical condition."

Providing a special opportunity to spotlight food allergies and anaphylaxis, this year's awareness week is May 10-16 and

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies are more common than a lot of people realize and affect an estimated 4 to 6 percent of children in the United States.

Food allergies occur when a person eats a certain food and their body's immune system gets confused, thinking the food is harmful and responds to it as if it were something that may cause injury or harm. This can be life threatening.

Many people have heard of a peanut allergy, but did you realise there are actually eight foods that, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), are responsible for 90 percent of serious allergic reactions? These are peanuts, tree nuts, cow's milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

But do you know the signs?

One of the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction is hives. Other signs include itchy or watery eyes, stuffy or itchy nose, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and/or swelling. If any of these warning signs appear seek immediate help.

A more severe allergic reaction that can lead to death is called anaphylaxis. Some of the symptoms associated with anaphylaxis include throat tightness, wheezing, trouble breathing and/or tingling in hands or feet. If signs of anaphylaxis occur, call 911 immediately.

Most people have an allergic reaction within minutes of consuming one of the aforementioned foods but sometimes it can take hours.


It is also important to note that when a person has an allergy to a particular food or another substance they may also be allergic to additional foods. The immune system sees the proteins in the offensive item as being closely related.

For example, according to the AAAAI, if a person is allergic to ragweed, they may also have reactions to bananas or melons. This condition is known as cross-reactivity.

If a person has had an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, follow-up allergy testing should be done by an allergist or immunologist to confirm an actual allergy versus intolerance. This allows the person to be prepared should a future reaction occur.

At all times throughout the year, but especially during Food Allergy Awareness Week, it is important to watch for symptoms of food allergies that can affect children as well as adults.

More more information or a consultation contact me, Marlene, at the Devon Allergy Clinic

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