It is estimated that more than 12 million Americans have a food allergy, which includes one in 13 children under the age of 18. There are eight foods that make up 90 percent of all food allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic. These include:
Milk – the most common allergy in children under the age of 3. It is estimated that two to three percent of children are allergic to milk, which 80 percent will outgrow by age 16. Symptoms include hives, upset stomach, vomiting and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
Eggs – it is estimated that two percent of children under the age of 5 have egg allergies. Approximately 70 percent of children with an egg allergy outgrow it by the age of 16. Reactions can vary, from a mild rash to anaphylaxis, which impairs breathing and can lead to shock.
Peanuts – can cause a severe anaphylaxis reaction and even death, and subsequent exposures can cause more severe reactions. Many schools have been declared “peanut free” because of the prevalence of this allergy, which has more than tripled in the past 20 years. Peanut allergens are most commonly associated with anaphylaxis, which requires immediate treatment or can be fatal.
Fish – it is estimated that 7 million Americans have an allergy to fish, which is generally a lifelong allergy.
Wheat – a common allergy that can cause stomach upset, asthma and even anaphylaxis.
Shellfish – a shellfish allergy usually shows up in adulthood and can cause one of the most dangerous anaphylactic reactions. This allergy is responsible for the most emergency room visits by food-allergic people.
Tree nuts – one of the leading causes of fatal reactions to foods, tree nut allergies afflict approximately 1.8 million Americans.
Soy – a common allergen for infants, soy is a cousin to the peanut.
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