May 14 – 20, 2017 is Food Allergy Awareness Week. It is likely that you or your child either has food allergies or knows someone who does. Here we will provide some basic information and resources for food allergy.
Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. About 30 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
A food allergy is a medical condition in which exposure to a food triggers a harmful immune response. The immune response, called an allergic reaction, occurs because the immune system attacks proteins in the food that are normally harmless. The proteins that trigger the reaction are called allergens. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to food can range from mild (itchy mouth, a few hives) to severe (throat tightening, difficulty breathing). Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is sudden in onset and can cause death.
More than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions. Eight major food allergens are responsible for most of the serious food allergy reactions in the United States – milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish.
Parents of Allergic Kids (PAK) – PAK is a network of families in and around Charlotte, NC with food, venom & latex allergies. They offer support & events for parents, teens and children, at little or no cost to the community.
Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) This is a comprehensive website including information about and managing food allergies.