Food Allergies -- Do You Have Unexplained Symptoms?
August 04, 2007
Food allergies, which claim the lives of 100 to 200 people and send another 30,000 to the emergency room each year, are on the rise in the United States.
In fact, they’ve doubled in the last 15 years, according to this Washington Post article, and now affect 4 percent of adults, and 8 percent of children aged 2 and under.
There are many theories about why food allergies are now classified as a public health problem. Among them is the hygiene hypothesis, which contends that growing up in an overly sterile environment can cause our immune systems to overreact when they’re confronted with harmless substances.
Some also blame changes in the way food is processed, genetically engineered foods, or the age when solid foods are first given to infants.
Just eight common foods—milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (like cashews), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat (gluten)—account for about 90 percent of all allergy reactions in the United States. However, you can also be allergic or sensitive to food additives like artificial colors or preservatives.
The Washington Post July 10, 2007