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5 Common Food Allergies | Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

 Posted on March 27, 2023 in Food Allergies


Did you know that food allergies affect over 50 million Americans? In fact, food allergy affects approximately 8% of children and 6% of adults every year, and the numbers keep rising. Another study states that around 11% of adults in the United States have food allergies. While any kind of food can cause an allergic reaction, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 90% of food allergy reactions are caused by these eight foods: eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy, and tree nuts. In this article, we will teach you everything you need to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of common food allergies.

What Is a Food Allergy?

Food allergy is your immune system’s reaction to certain food types. The immune system recognizes the food protein as a threat and signals your brain to release chemicals like histamine, which can cause inflammation. Similar to genetic disorders, food allergies run in families. Thus if you have inherited an allergic condition like eczema, asthma, or hay fever, there is a high chance that you might have a food allergy.  

Food allergy symptoms can surface anywhere from a few seconds to hours, depending on the allergy type. Signs that indicate that you are having a food allergy reaction include swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue, difficulty breathing, light-headedness, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, low blood pressure, diarrhea, hives, and itchy rashes.

5 Common Food Allergies

Food allergies and other types of hypersensitivities affect millions of US citizens every year. Even though nearly any food can trigger an allergic reaction, we have compiled a list of five common food allergies.

1. Milk

Milk allergy is the most common food allergy in babies and children. According to a report, 2 to 3% of children under the age of three are allergic to milk. Similar to other food allergies, milk allergy causes the immune system to overreact to the proteins (whey and casein) found in cow milk, sheep milk, or goat milk. Ingesting milk can cause people with food allergies to have stomach problems, nausea, hives, rashes, itching, and a tingling sensation in the mouth. Severe symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness.

The only way to prevent a food allergic reaction is to avoid consuming milk and food items that contain milk, such as buttermilk, cheese, custard, yogurt, ghee, sour cream, and all kinds of baked goods.

2. Eggs

Eggs are the second most common food allergen that affects children. Research has proven that children with egg allergies will overcome food sensitivity by the age of 16. In severe cases, egg allergy symptoms include respiratory problems, digestive distress, skin reactions like rashes or hives, and anaphylaxis. Because the yolk and egg white have different proteins, it is possible for a person to be allergic to the yolk and not the egg white and vice versa.

The only treatment for egg allergy is adopting an egg-free diet, which means removing all egg-based products from your life.

3. Shellfish

Did you know that around 60% of people with shellfish allergy have their first allergic reaction in their adulthood? Shellfish are any animal that lives in water and has a shell-like exterior. There are primarily two types of shellfish:

● Mollusks: mussels, oysters, scallops, clams

● Crustaceans: lobster, crab, crayfish, and shrimp

If a person with this food allergy eats shellfish, their body’s immune system attacks the proteins (tropomyosin, parvalbumin, and kinase). This causes an allergic reaction affecting different parts of the body, including the heart, digestive tract, respiratory system, and skin. These people might feel swelling or tingling of the throat, tongue, or lips, coughing, indigestion, dizziness, blue or pale skin coloring, and anaphylaxis. Once you have been diagnosed with the shellfish allergy, keep an EpiPen in your bag and avoid eating food products that might contain shellfish.  

4. Peanuts

Once a snack-time staple, nowadays, peanuts are off-limits for adults and kids. Peanut allergy affects 2% of adults and 1 to 3% of children in the United States. Unlike tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, and almonds) that grow on trees, peanuts are legumes. When a person with this food allergy eats peanuts, their immune system overreacts to the proteins causing a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal. Symptoms of peanut allergy include hoarseness, coughing, throat tightness, trouble breathing, swollen or itchy eyes, red spots, belly pain, and vomiting.

In addition to eating peanuts in raw form, a person can have a severe food allergic reaction by consuming something made of unrefined or gourmet peanut oil and even if their skin comes in contact with peanut dust. Therefore, if you have a peanut allergy, make sure to avoid eating or drinking peanut-containing products.  

5. Wheat

Affecting kids the most, wheat allergy is your immune system’s reaction to the proteins of wheat (gluten, globulin, gliadin, and albumin). People with this food allergy can get hives, rashes, stomach cramps, running nose, diarrhea, indigestion, headache, inflammation, and wheezing by either ingesting (drinking or eating) or inhaling the wheat powder. Wheat allergy is usually diagnosed through a skin-prick test, and the only treatment is to avoid consuming wheat-containing items, including cosmetics.  

Note: No matter what you are allergic to, always carry an EpiPen wherever you go. It is better to be prepared than to be sorry.

Are You Looking for Food Allergy Lawsuit Attorneys in Illinois?

Are you suffering from a food allergy reaction? The advocates at Newland & Newland, LLP can help you sue the responsible party (restaurant, food manufacturer, daycare, or school owner) to get a fair claim to compensate for the medical expense and missed work days. Filling a food allergy lawsuit will also prevent this from happening with anyone else again, ensuring safe business practices. For a free phone consultation, contact us today!

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