Food allergies are a growing concern across the United States. Researchers at the Food Allergy Research and Education organization have gathered important information in recent years, publishing extensive information that individuals, including parents of young children who are affected, should know about. Here are eight facts and statistics about food allergies that you may find surprising:
Approximately 15 million adults and children are affected.
This includes about four percent of adults, or nine million adults, and 8 percent of children, which represents nearly six million kids.
Traces of peanut can be particularly difficult to remove from surfaces.
Antibacterial gels will not clean all peanut residue from the hands. Only running water and soap or the use of commercial-grade wipes will do the job. Dishwashing liquid will not remove it from household surfaces, but spray cleaners and sanitizing wipes will. This is a very important fact to know because those allergic to peanuts often face life-threatening reactions when exposed to it.
Eight items account for 90 percent of food-related allergic reactions.
Wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, fish, and shellfish are included in this list.
Dining outside the home leads to about half of all fatal cases.
Even trace amounts of key ingredients can lead to a life-threatening situation.
Some issues resolve themselves in childhood.
Kids who are allergic to milk, wheat, egg, and soy frequently outgrow it. On the other hand, those who have reactions to peanuts, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts may do so for their entire life.
The number of children affected has increased dramatically.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 1997 and 2011 food allergies in children increased 50%.
Food allergies cause more than one-quarter of a million ambulatory-care visits per year.
The CDC estimates that there are more than 300,000 such visits for children under the age of 18.
While there is no cure, there are ways to manage symptoms.
The best way to manage symptoms and reactions is to avoid triggers. In some cases, this includes inhalation of particles that carry the allergens. For example, steam from a kitchen where fish is being prepared could cause a reaction in someone with a sensitive fish allergy.