Allergy Information

If your child has a food allergy a food allergy action plan and an anaphylaxis action plan needs to be completed and returned to the health office prior to the first day of school along with any medications and Epi-pens.

Scientists estimate that as many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction. The symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal.

Diagnosis
A skin prick test or a blood test for IgE antibodies is commonly used to begin to determine if an allergy exists. A skin prick test is usually less expensive and can be done in the doctor’s office. The results of the tests are combined with other information, such as a history of symptoms and the result of a food challenge to determine whether a food allergy exists.

Treatment
Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to avoid a reaction. Reading ingredient labels for all foods is the key to avoiding a reaction. If a product doesn’t have a label, individuals with a food allergy should not eat that food. If you have any doubt whether a food is safe, call the manufacturer for more information. There is no cure for food allergies.

Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, is the medication of choice for controlling a severe reaction. It is available by prescription as a self-injectable device (EpiPen® or Twinject®).

Symptoms
Symptoms may include one or more of the following: a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and even death. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.

Food Allergy Information:  www.foodallergysupportmn.org

Eggs

Egg allergy is estimated to affect approximately 1.5% of young children. But it’s also a food allergy that is one of the most likely to be outgrown over time.

Milk

Approximately 2.5% of children younger than 3 years of age are allergic to milk. Nearly all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life. Most children who have milk allergy will outgrow it in the first few years of life.

Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise.  Peanuts can trigger a severe reaction. The severity of a reaction depends on how sensitive an individual is and the quantity consumed.

Allergic reactions to tree nuts are among the leading causes of fatal and near-fatal reactions to foods. Tree nuts include, but are not limited to, walnut, almond, hazelnut, coconut, cashew, pistachio, and Brazil nuts. These are not to be confused or grouped together with peanut, which is a legume, or seeds, such as sunflower or sesame.

Like those with peanut allergies, most individuals who are diagnosed with an allergy to tree nuts tend to have a lifelong allergy.

Seafood/Shellfish

Allergy to shellfish is considered lifelong; once a person develops the allergy, it is unlikely that they will lose it.

Approximately 60% of those with shellfish allergy first experienced an allergic reaction as an adult. To avoid a reaction, strict avoidance of seafood and seafood products is essential. Always read ingredient labels to identify shellfish ingredients. In addition, avoid touching shellfish, going to the fish market, and being in an area where shellfish are being cooked (the protein in the steam may present a risk).