We're worried. Our kids have more food allergies than ever before. Trips to the emergency room have been on the rise for some years.
Have we kept our kids too clean for their own good and now their immune systems don't know how to act? Maybe potential allergens should be introduced earlier rather than later so the body recognizes them as food.
Have the peanuts and the corn and other foods that cause allergies-- have these foods changed?
Is it something about how these food are grown, or the chemicals used on them? Too much or too little of something in the soil?
Maybe the allergy increase is related to genetically modified foods. Have we given our kids leaky guts from too many additives and processed foods?
The Center for Disease Control says the number of school-aged children with food allergies in the U.S. rose by 18 percent between 1997 and 2007.
A food allergy is your immune system's response to a particular food protein. Testing of blood samples is the most sure way of making the determination.
The most frequent foods allergies in children are to eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts and wheat. Many children outgrow food allergies over time.
A severe allergic reaction can be quite spectacular, resulting in anaphylaxis, difficulty breathing, and hypotension (drop in blood pressure) leading to shock.
More common reactions are coughing and congestion, eczema, diarrhea, hives, vomiting, wheezing, or swelling of the face, lips or tongue.
Anaphylaxis is a reaction involving at least two organ systems of the body or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Reaction can be mild, or span the full spectrum of severity to life-threatening.
Sometimes you'll see symptoms that affect the skin like flushing or hives. Swelling may occur. Respiratory symptoms are common, like coughing or wheezing, tightness in the chest or throat or shortness of breath. Watch for cramps, chest pain, and hypotension and shock.
When the allergic reaction is mild, an antihistamine may be sufficient. For an anaphylactic reaction however, epinephrine is needed within a half hour to an hour. It's delivered via an epinephrine autoinjector.