January 18, 2010

Five Food Allergy Myths

Most people, at some point in their lives, will develop a food allergy or intolerance. Allergies are much more severe than intolerances, which often occur as results of different conditions or food poisoning. An allergic reaction is the body’s unique response to certain proteins within foods that are resistant to the heat of cooking, called allergens. Unlike food intolerances, which are often uncomfortable, food allergies must be carefully regulated, as severe allergic reactions have the potential to be fatal.

With such severe implications surrounding food allergies, it’s important to know all the facts, and be able to differentiate the common myths from statistics that you should be aware of.

Myth #1 – Food Allergies are Very Common
Although it may seem as if many people suffer from food allergies, in truth, only about one percent of adults and three percent of children are estimated to suffer from food allergies, despite that close to thirty percent of all people claim to have allergies.

Myth #2 – All Children Will Grow Out of Their Allergies
This is true for some children, but not for all. Children with dairy, egg and soy allergies will often experience fewer symptoms as they grow older, to the point where their allergy no longer exists. Children with wheat allergies, alternatively, may experience a lack of allergy symptoms for a number of years, however, their wheat allergies tend to recur. Tree nut and shellfish allergies rarely resolve with age.

Myth #3 – Negative Reactions to Foods are Prime Indications of Allergies
Most negative reactions to food, including vomiting and heartburn, are more likely to indicate a food intolerance or food poisoning instead of an allergy. True food allergies are not common within the whole population, and though a bad reaction to a certain food may not mean you have an allergy, it may be a wise decision to contact your physician and avoid it anyway.

Myth #4 – Shellfish Allergies are Associated with Iodine Allergies
Many people with shellfish allergies tent to avoid CT scans, as well as other medical procedures involving iodine because they believe that it is the iodine content within the shell fish that they are allergic to. This is not the case, as allergic reactions to shellfish are triggered by the proteins within shellfish, not their iodine content.

Myth #5 – Most People are Allergic to Peanuts
It’s common for peanuts to be banned from work environments and school classrooms on account of severe allergies; however, less than one percent of all people are affected by peanut allergies. Peanut allergies are often commonly talked about because of the severe reactions that they often produce, and the fact that a reaction to peanuts may be induced by inhalation, physical contact or consumption.

Food Allergies can be extremely severe; however, if you haven’t been clinically diagnosed to have one, it’s unlikely that you actually do. If you experience any frequent negative reactions to a specific food, it is recommended that you speak with your physician, because although it’s unlikely that you have an allergy, you reaction may indicate something else.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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