More on Food Allergies

Food allergies can be fatal

In the most serious cases, a food allergen can trigger anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that happens very quickly and can cause selling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. Without immediate treatment – an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) and expert care – anaphylaxis can be fatal.

Even a small amount of a trigger food can cause a big reaction

When you’re allergic to something, you can’t get away with eating even a little bit of the forbidden food. People who have received an allergy diagnosis have to be scrupulous – and that’s trickier than it sounds. You might not expect to find wheat in soy sauce, for example, or soy in vegetable broth, but “hidden” ingredients are present in many foods. And the formulations of even familiar foods can change, so you have to make label reading a habit. Food makers are legally required to state on labels whether a product contains any of the eight major food allergens.

There’s no such thing as being a little allergic

A milk attack doesn’t indicate that the next one won’t be severe. A review of food-allergy fatalities by the FAAN found that most of the victims had not suffered a severe allergic reaction before the one that caused their death.
Anything that has touched a trigger food can be dangerous

Even if you avoid trigger foods such as nuts, you need to be aware that kitchen utensils and factory equipment can harbor trace amounts of allergens. So read food labels, and wash your hands and kitchen surfaces with sap and water to effectively remove allergens: alcohol sanitizers won’t do the trick.

Kissing can trigger a reaction

You need to wait at least 4 hours before smooching with someone who has eaten a food you are allergic to, according to the FAAN’s website.

Allergy attacks can strike and then strike again

Even emergency-room personnel don’t always realize that someone can get better and then relapse minutes to hours later. People who have had a reaction should be watched for any more symptoms for at least 48 hours.

You can outgrow a food allergy

For reasons not well understood, research suggests that dangerous food allergies might be more prevalent in children than as previously thought. According to a recent study that combined data on more than 38,000 children, as many as 8 percent of kids in the U.S. have food allergies; almost 40 percent of those have a severe allergy.

Most children outgrow their food allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat by the time they are 10 years old. But a few types of allergies, notably those to fish, nuts, and shellfish, tend to persist throughout life. On the flip side, you can develop food allergies in adulthood, and people can become less tolerant of certain foods s they get older. Milk is a common example; most adults who are lactose intolerant had no trouble drinking milk when they were babies.

Keeping children away from certain trigger foods won’t prevent allergies

Back in the day, parents might have been advised not to give children certain foods, specifically eggs and peanuts, that are common allergy triggers. But delaying introduction of those foods hasn’t been shown to prevent allergies to them. New guidelines say that those foods can be served, along with others, when child is 4 to 6 month old. Talk to your doctor if your child has a sibling with serious food allergies because they can run in families.

Got pine mouth?

Have you experienced a lingering bitter or metallic taste after eating pine nuts? If so, the Food and Drug Administration would like to hear from you. The agency has received complains about “pine mouth”, a condition that develops 12 to 48 hours after eating pine nuts and lasts for as long as two weeks. It appears to be an annoyance, not a health concern. For more info, go to and search for “pine mouth”. Open the first result, and click on the consumer complain link.

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