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36 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT
203-254-0179

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Trumbull, CT
203-459-8712

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Most parents and the public have a general awareness of the rise in food allergies. Today, it is common to be the parent of a child, or know someone whose child has had a severe allergic reaction to an otherwise harmless food. New information published on SELF.com is available from the non-profit organization FAIR Health that confirms just how prevalent food allergies have become. FAIR Health has access to over 24 billion health insurance claims. They recently analyzed how frequently a diagnosis of food allergy was mentioned on claims submitted by health care providers to insurance companies. According to FAIR Health, claims for anaphylaxis to any food increased by 377 percent from 2007 until 2016. What was more alarming was the sharp rise in food allergies diagnosed in the 19 to 30 year old age group, which increased over 800 percent. This is not an age group usually associated with new onset of food allergies. Some reactions could be a consequence of accidental ingestions by people previously known to have a food allergy, but a real rise in incidence cannot be excluded. The most common allergenic foods were peanuts 26 %, and tree nuts 18% followed by eggs, shellfish and milk. Wheat was not a common food allergen. The cause of the rise in food allergies is not known. One theory is the widespread use of antibiotics in our environment has changed the composition of the types of bacteria or germs that normally live in the intestinal tract. Many studies have shown these bacteria have a protective effect and prevent the immune system form reacting to foods. In a similar vein, the hygiene hypothesis suggests our modern environment is too clean. In the pre-antibiotic era, children had more exposure to a variety of bacterial and viral infections that some research suggests are required for normal stimulation and maturation of the immune system. In the absence of such stimulation, our immune system begins reacting to harmless food allergens. On farms and the developing world, where there is more exposure to bacteria and viruses, food allergies are uncommon. Signs of a food allergy can be mild or severe. Mild reactions may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching and hives. Most reactions develop within thirty minutes. Some reactions only occur if exercising thirty minutes after ingesting certain foods. A severe reaction can cause swelling of the throat, airway obstruction, difficulty breathing and drop in blood pressure. An epinephrine auto-injector is lifesaving under these circumstances. Diagnosis of a food allergy is confirmed with a skin test that requires about twenty minutes. Doctor King provides diagnosis, treatment and answers to your questions about food related disorders