The average American eats almost a literal ton of food each year.
With all that eating, food allergies are very common as well — in fact, about 20 million Americans suffer from food allergies. That’s about 6% of both adults and kids.
Nine foods cause the most common food allergy reactions. Here’s a little info about each of them:
A milk allergy is your body reacting to the proteins in the milk. Milk is nutritious, but if you’re allergic, it can cause stomach cramps, rashes, and swelling. A milk allergy is common in kids, but many of them outgrow it.
Soy comes from soybeans; allergic reactions are most common in kids under 3. Symptoms include itchy rashes or hives around the mouth. Many products contain soy, including infant formula and high-protein energy bars, so make sure to check labels if you’re not sure.
Egg allergies are common in kids as well, but many outgrow them by the time they’re 16. Symptoms include a stomach ache, hives or a rash, and respiratory problems. It’s also possible to be allergic to egg whites but not the yolk, and vice versa.
Wheat allergies are your body's reaction to any of the hundreds of proteins it contains. Your white blood cells attack the wheat; symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, and swelling of the lips or tongue. Some kids outgrow wheat allergies, but adults will have them for life.
Peanuts are the most common of the food allergies. It also causes one of the most severe reactions with anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic response to an allergen. Even a trace of peanuts can cause a problem, so make sure you check all labels before you eat packaged food.
This is an allergy to nuts and seeds that come from trees (including almonds, cashews, pistachios, and more). It’s usually a lifelong condition, and can also lead to severe reactions, including anaphylaxis.
The edible seeds of the sesame plant are a common ingredient in food everywhere. If you’re allergic, symptoms range from mild (such as hives) to severe (such as anaphylaxis). As a major allergen, sesame must be clearly labeled on packaged foods.
Fish allergies can develop as a kid or an adult. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially anaphylaxis. Shellfish and fish do carry different proteins, so an allergy to one doesn’t necessarily mean you’re allergic to both.
Shellfish allergies are also a lifelong condition, and even a small amount of shrimp, lobster, oysters, etc. can cause a problem. You’re usually allergic to all shellfish, so you should be wary of seafood restaurants and markets selling raw fish.
If you need help determining what foods you’re allergic to or devising a food allergies treatment plan, our experts at Voss Family Clinic are happy to help. Just call our Sugar Land, Texas office at 281-918-8759 or book an appointment online anytime!