Approximately 1 in 20 children and 1 in 25 adults have food allergy. A food allergy is an adverse reaction to food where the immune system overreacts to a particular protein found in that food. Why is it important to get a food allergy diagnosis? Unlike other non-immune mediated intolerances, food allergy can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
In the United States, the most common food allergens are egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish, fish and soy. Food allergy is more common in children than adults. Most children outgrow allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. Allergies to tree nuts, peanut or shellfish are usually life-long.
A food allergy diagnosis requires a visit to a board-certified allergist who assesses a patient’s clinical reaction to food and performs a skin or blood test if necessary.
There is no cure for food allergy, so avoidance is important in preventing an allergic reaction. However, since it may only take a minute amount of food to trigger a reaction, accidental exposures occur. Thatís why it’s important to understand how to treat a food-allergic reaction.
The following Internet training program, “Epi Everywhere! Every Day!™ School-Based Anaphylaxis Preparedness,” developed by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics in partnership with the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and sponsored by Mylan Specialty, LP, provides information about what you can do to prevent anaphylaxis at schools.