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Food Allergies

A food allergy is an immunologic response to a food protein. It is estimated that up to 12 million Americans have food allergies of one type or another,[1] and the prevalence is rising.[2] Six to eight percent of children have food allergies and two percent of adults have them.[3] The most common food allergies in adults are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, fish, and eggs[3], and the most common food allergies present in children are milk, eggs, and peanuts.[3]

At this time, there is no cure for food allergies. Treatment consists of avoidance diets, where the allergic person avoids any and all forms of the food to which they are allergic. For people who are extremely sensitive, this may involve the total avoidance of any exposure with the allergen, including touching or inhaling the problematic food as well as any surfaces that may have come into contact with it. Food allergy is distinct from food intolerance, which is not caused by an immune reaction.

Persons diagnosed with a food allergy may carry an autoinjector of epinephrine such as an EpiPen or Twinject, wear some form of medical alert jewelry, or develop an emergency action plan, in accordance with their doctor.

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