In a recent survey conducted in 2011 over 38,000 children younger than 18 were polled to determine their food allergies. It was found that over 8% of children polled and studied, most are allergic to one or more foods. Accord to Susan Schuval a pediatric allergist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, “…there’s a very high, and higher than we thought, prevalence of food allergy in the U.S, ” Susan continues, “We see this in our clinic, tons and tons of food allergies.”
The most common allergies treated included peanuts milk and shellfish allergies. Tree nuts, plus eggs, fin fish, strawberries, and wheat plus soy are also foods that cause allergic reactions in children.”
Symptoms of Allergic Reactions
There are situations where food allergies fade as children grow, yet those children who do not “lose” their allergic reactions can experience deadly reactions. Studies show 40% of children with allergies to certain foods experience traumatic symptoms. Symptoms can comprise winded breathing and anaphylaxis or difficulty breathing and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Additional symptoms or reactions due to food allergies include hives and eczema to asthma, vomiting and anaphylaxis or a life threatening reaction in the body. Anaphylaxis causes the body’s major systems to shut down rapidly. The Journal of Pediatrics reported in 2010 that over 39% of children with food allergies do have histories of very severe reactions that include anaphylaxis.
Children between three and five have the highest percentage of food allergies, but teenagers experience life-threatening allergies more often. This may because of the propensity of teens to eat what they want without considering the side effects.
Psychological side effects of food allergies should also be considered. Children, who cannot eat peanut butter and are relegated to the nut-free foods at school, often feel like outcasts. In addition the fear of having an allergic reaction when eating out with friends and family can have an effect on your entire life.