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5 Top Tips for Food Allergies

Jennifer Bright on

Do allergies run in your family? If so, you have plenty of company. Up to 50 million Americans, millions of them kids, are allergic to something.

When a person has an allergy, his or her body reacts to a substance that's harmless to most people. The body releases chemicals to defend against the allergen "invader." These chemicals cause allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy nose, throat irritation, nasal congestion and coughing. Some common allergens are dust mites, insect venom, medicines, molds, pollen and pets.

In babies, the type of allergies you hear about most commonly are food allergies. About 4 out of every 100 children have a food allergy. When a person is allergic to a food, the body overreacts as if the food were harmful. A person can be allergic to any food, but interestingly, almost all food allergies in children are caused by the following worst offenders.

-- Cow's milk (between 2% and 5% of infants are allergic to the proteins found in cow's milk).

-- Eggs (most kids outgrow egg allergies by the time they start kindergarten).

-- Fish.

 

-- Peanuts (along with tree nuts, peanuts cause some of the most severe food-related allergies).

-- Shellfish.

-- Soy (up to 30% of babies who are allergic to cow's milk are also allergic to soy milk).

-- Tree nuts (these include almonds, pecans and walnuts).

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