A food allergy, or hypersensitivity, is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system. While many people often have gas, bloating or another unpleasant reaction to something they eat, this is not an allergic response. Such a reaction is thought to not involve the immune system and is called "food intolerance."
What it would be like if eating a peanut butter sandwich or some shrimp, or simply drinking a tall glass of milk left you vomiting, gasping for breath, and furiously scratching a fresh crop of hives. That's reality for many people with food allergies.
In adults, the most common food allergies that cause allergic reactions include: shellfish such as shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crab. Peanuts, are one of the chief foods to cause severe anaphylaxis, a sudden drop in blood pressure that can be fatal if not treated rapidly. Tree nuts walnut, cashew, etc..
In children, the foods are somewhat different. The most common food allergens that usually cause problems in children are milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, and wheat. Adults do not usually leave behind their allergies, but children can sometimes outgrow them. Children are more likely to outgrow allergies to milk or soy than allergies to peanuts, fish, or shrimp.
It is amazing to think that the food that nourishes us can also cause severe allergic reactions in many people. There are quite a few common food allergies that are sometimes surprising to people.
To Recap Common Food Allergies
In our daily lives we encounter allergens that cause us to sneeze, have itchy eyes or even get the hives. Often these symptoms are attributed to outside environmental agents, like dust, weeds or animals. It is surprising to discover how many common food allergies there are.
In recent years there seems to be more and more children that have a peanut allergy. Some people have such an adverse reaction, that even if a third party has touched a peanut or peanut product, and then touch them; they can go into anaphylaxis shock. Needing immediate medical care and an epinephrine shot to counter the reaction.
Don’t forget as brought to your attention above there seems to be eight common food allergies. These foods include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, and fish and shell fish. Each of these common food allergies can be life threatening if not treated quickly. In addition, there are also people with allergies to fruits, vegetables and even seeds. Most of these common food allergies are usually most often found in children.
Many times, children outgrow these allergies. The common food allergies that can be outgrown involve, milk, eggs, soy and wheat. There is no guarantee however, that these common food allergies will be a childhood problem that will not persist into adulthood. Unfortunately, peanuts, tree nuts and fish allergies seem to be life long problems; and, shellfish allergies generally occur in adulthood.
Do You Have A Common Food Allergy?
Sometimes it is very to tell if you have a common food allergy. An instant reaction like vomiting, diarrhea, rashes or anaphylaxis is a red flag that this food is causing you a problem. Keeping a record of what children eat when they are young, helps to discover most common food allergies. If food allergies are suspected, a board-certified allergist should be consulted. Often, they will require a food diary to be kept; and then, reviewed to discover if there is a pattern. There are several more tests, including a skin-prick test and a RAST test, (which is a blood test), that can help to discover which foods a patient is allergic too.
Learning to live with common food allergies can be a challenge. It is important to always discover what ingredients are in foods, especially when eating out. Notifying friends of the allergies can help insure that foods that cause a reaction will not be used at gatherings. Many people have common food allergies, it’s important to be aware of these so that serious reactions can be avoided.
The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is making it a high priority to boost consumer and food industry awareness of food allergens. As part of these efforts, the FDA is conducting food allergen education programs for consumers and industry. The agency also is developing a strategy for clear, easy-to-understand labeling of food allergens. So look for new labeling on foods to alert you to common food allergens.