Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Big 8 Allergens

There are 8 foods that account for more than 90% of all food allergies. These allergens are the ones that companies will sometimes write in bold writing at the bottom of an ingredient list. These allergens include:

  1. Milk- This is the most common allergy among children. Typically children will have developed the allergy by 6 months of age. Milk allergies are twice as common as an egg allergy and three times as common as a peanut allergy!
  2. Egg- A lot of children will develop an egg allergy. Many of them will outgrow it by adulthood, some even by elementary school.
  3. Peanut- Peanut allergies are known to give you the worst reaction. This is because while 20% diagnosed with the allergy will eventually outgrow it, the remaining 80% will likely have worsening reactions over time.
  4. Tree Nuts- Don't think that because you are diagnosed with a peanut allergy you are automatically allergic to tree nuts. Your chances once diagnosed with peanuts are much higher but not a done deal.
  5. Fish- The most common fish allergies are that of the cod, halibut, mackerel, trout and salmon. Be sure to be tested for multiple fish or to avoid fish altogether if found to be allergic.
  6. Shellfish- If you are allergic to shellfish you are allergic to what is known as a mollusk or a crustacean.
  7. Soy- Soy is a very hard allergen to steer clear of. It is found in most foods and can result in an unbalanced diet if avoided completely. The best way to learn to cope with a soy allergy is to consult your allergist.
  8. Wheat- Wheat is another allergen hard to avoid. Commonly people associate wheat with celiac's disease but that is not an allergy. An allergy is when your body incorrectly identifies a food's protein as a threat and attacks it by releasing chemicals into the blood stream causing an allergic reaction.
If you are found to have any of these allergies, you should carry an epipen on you at all times.

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