Food allergies are very common and it can occur to anyone depending on the food they are allergic to. What's exactly an allergy? An allergy occurs when the immune system has a reaction towards a particular food. This can lead to hives, itchy skin, tongue swelling, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, to name a few.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies affect about 4 to 6 percent of children and 4 percent of adults. The symptoms of food allergies are most common in children and babies and these allergies can develop at any age.
Certain foods like eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat and soy cause 90 percent of the allergic reactions. Edible seeds like sesame seeds and mustard seeds can also trigger allergy, as they are common food allergens.
However, there are many myths about food allergies that people believe in. In this article, we will debunk those myths.
So, have a look at the myths and facts on food allergies.
1. Myth: Food Allergies Aren't Serious
Fact: Food allergies can be serious, which can cause vomiting, difficulty in breathing, loss of consciousness, stuffy nose and hives.
If the allergic reaction is severe, it can even be life-threatening. So, if you are allergic to certain foods, be vigilant and avoid those foods.
2. Myth: Most Food Allergies Are Caused By Food Additives
Fact: This is absolutely a myth because the actual allergy triggers are the proteins in the food. Though in some people, food additives such as artificial colouring and flavouring cause allergies, it is the structural protein in them that cause these allergies, especially proteins in the red and yellow food colouring can trigger food allergies.
3. Myth: Eating A Little Bit of The Allergen Won't Hurt
Fact: People who have food allergies must remove the allergen completely from their diet to stay safe and live well. Even if you have the food allergen in small amounts, it can trigger a severe reaction. Avoid any kind of cross-contact with your safe food and a food allergen.
4. Myth: Only Certain Foods Cause Food Allergies
Fact: Although there are certain specific kind of foods that are most likely to cause allergic reactions like nuts, peanuts, soy, shellfish, fish and eggs, there are certain chemicals used in medicines that can also cause allergies, so it's not only the foods that cause allergies but a few by-products as well.
5. Myth: Children Never Outgrow Their Food Allergies
Fact: Many children can possibly outgrow their food allergies if only they have avoided the particular food for almost two to three years. Children allergic to milk can outgrow this food allergy as compared to peanuts, but it's still possible.
6. Myth: Each Allergic Reaction Will Get Worse
Fact: The reaction towards food allergies is very unpredictable. You cannot predict which food allergen will cause less to severe reaction, it depends on the way your body reacts to a food allergen. So, you should keep medicines in handy to avoid any serious allergic reaction.
7. Myths: Most Food Allergies Are Caused By Peanuts
Fact: This is not true, as there are other fruits and vegetables that also may cause food allergies. Peanuts are not the only foods, there are kiwi fruits, eggs, wheat, shellfish, etc., that are the most common foods that can cause allergies and the reactions could be life-threatening too.
8. Myth: Food Allergies Are Same As Food Intolerances
Fact: When you have a food allergy, your immune system produces an antibody called immunoglobin E that detects a food allergen. This antibody fights the food allergens by releasing histamine and other chemicals. On the other hand, food intolerances, do not involve the immune system because they are not life-threatening.
9. Myth: A Food Allergy Always Develops In Childhood
Fact: One can develop a food allergy at any age, even a food that you have never thought you would be allergic to can trigger an allergy later on in life. Children outgrow food allergies over time towards certain foods like milk, eggs, soy and wheat. We bet you didn't know this!
10. Myth: Any Reaction You Have After A Food Is An Allergy
Fact: Many people are allergic to foods and they sometimes get adverse reactions to certain foods after eating them. This is not any kind of allergic reactions because you may be lactose intolerant, have a food aversion, gas or hyperactivity towards it and hence it need not always be a food allergy.
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