Food allergy is a condition in which the body’s immune system reacts to certain foods—either when actually eating them or simply being around them—causing symptoms such as breathing trouble, dizziness and fainting. Sometimes the reaction can be severe enough to be life-threatening, called anaphylaxis. The extent of reaction is unpredictable, and may be mild at first and more severe with subsequent exposure.
Most food allergies in the US are caused by peanuts and tree nuts, fish and shellfish, eggs, milk, wheat and soy. Approximately 5 percent of children experience food allergies. There is currently no cure but researchers are learning more how to treat and prevent the reaction.