As you go to birthday parties for children do you see what I have accustomed to seeing? Parents bringing cupcakes or sweets designed for their kids due to a food allergy. As I visit my friends who have kids, I see and hear about children who are allergic to more foods and parts of the environment than I remember when I was growing up. My memory doesn’t recollect all these allergies growing up. Sure, I had asthma and was allergic to pollen and that was not as common.
The most common type of allergy I have witnessed is the nut allergy such as brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts (legume), etc. I have a friend who caries around an Epipen which contains a single dose of epinephrine with him 24/7. His daughter is allergic to the slightest hint of nut. Any nut oil or scent could trigger a fatal allergic reaction (Anaphylaxis). We are still trying to figure out how his daughter became allergic to nuts.
The most important characteristic is to read the ingredient label. I couldn’t believe how many processed foods use nuts in their manufacturing process. Sometimes, the labels will give a warning that the equipment used to make the product has come in contact with a nut byproduct. I guess they don’t wash the equipment in use. Also add to the fact that Tree nut oils are sometimes used in lotions, hair care products and soaps.
The one organization that is trying to help on this topic is the FDA. The have provided a list of major food allergens that can cause a reaction. They include: milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish crustacean shellfish and soy. Any product label that contain any of the above allergens must be listed in the ingredient packaging to protect the consumer.
All of the Sudden
I have no scientific proof of my theory but the rise in food allergy coincides with the huge increase in processed foods. All the packaged, ready to eat meals created with soy, nuts, salt, dairy, etc has had to have some effect on our bodies. This dietary change indirectly affects children since the parents who adjusted their meals and nutrition to processed foods had a change in their immunological response. Based on genetics, these characteristics were transferred to the children who developed an allergy type that didn’t exist before. It is just a theory but the allergy count in current classrooms is just amazing.
Does anyone in your family have a food allergy that didn’t exist in your family tree?