Food allergies affect up to 15 million people in the U.S., including one in every 13 children. That's the subject this week for Dr. Tedd Mitchell.
Mitchell is president of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, and this week, he looks at the most common food allergies and what we can do to avoid a treat that becomes tragic. This is the President's Prescription.
Did you know that according to the food allergy and anaphylaxis network, 8 foods account for 90% of all food-related reactions? Those 8 foods include things like: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
A food allergy develops when a person's immune system mistakenly targets a certain food protein as a threat. This attack typically results in anaphylaxis, a severe and often life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause breathing and circulation problems.
Food allergies like bananas and strawberries are often outgrown, but allergies to some foods, like peanuts and shellfish, will remain serious lifelong medical conditions. Currently medication can't prevent food allergies, so the only way to avoid anaphylaxis is to adjust your lifestyle and cut out trigger foods by planning in advance and carefully reading food labels.
Parents of children with food allergies should alert their teachers, and remind their children never to assume a food doesn't contain an allergen.
If a food is accidentally consumed, a medication like epinephrine can help to slow down the reaction of anaphylaxis. If your doctor has prescribed you or your child an epinephrine kit, make sure you know how to use it in case of emergency.
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