Governor Ducey has proclaimed the month of May as Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Awareness Month. It is a great time to help your family, friends, and coworkers learn more about food allergies. Did you know that children have food allergies more often than adults and that there are eight foods that cause most food allergic reactions? These foods are peanuts, milk, shellfish, soy, eggs, wheat, tree nuts, and fish.
A food allergy is when the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts to it. Symptoms can be mild but are sometimes life-threatening. Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction and can cause death in a matter of minutes for severely allergic individuals. Food allergy symptoms can include:
- Skin rash, itching, hives
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing
- Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea
Only a doctor can properly diagnose a food allergy. There is no cure yet for food allergies. Strictly avoiding the food a person is allergic to and early recognition of allergic reactions are important steps in preventing serious health consequences.
Not all people who react to a certain food have an allergy. They may have an intolerance such as lactose intolerance. Take time to watch this video on food allergies to learn more. You can also visit kidswithfoodallergies.org/ to find more information on food allergies, locate allergy-friendly recipes, connect with parents managing their children’s food allergies, and get information about managing food allergies in schools.