Food allergy is an IgE-mediated immune disease that causes the body to have an allergic reaction to food. This allergic reaction can manifest as a range of symptoms. These symptoms can include hives and itching or more systemic symptoms (anaphylaxis) including difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and ultimately, death. A recent study shows this disease has increased by about 50% in children over the past 20 years and continues to increase. There are now about 6 million children in the U.S. with food allergy and about 9 million adults. These individuals are most likely to be allergic to one or more of the top eight most common food allergens, which include cow's milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
Many of us know someone who has a life-threatening food allergy so it is important for us to learn more about what foods are most likely to cause reactions and what symptoms to look for when reactions happen. It is also helpful to know how to keep those with food allergy safe. When severe reactions do happen, it is important to give injectable epinephrine immediately and to call for emergency medical help.
The infographic below explains what you need to know about protecting kids with food allergies. You can also visit the Food Allergy Program to learn about how we care for kids with food allergies.