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What is a food allergy?

A true food allergy is an immunological reaction to a certain food. It is not the same as food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance, which does not involve the immune system. Food allergies occur in up to five percent of children and two percent of adults.

What foods can cause allergic reactions?

Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but 90 percent of all food allergies are caused by the following foods: wheat, eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shell fish and seeds.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening (anaphylaxis) and may include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, hives, swelling, itching or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or mouth, eczema, itching or tightness in the throat, difficulty breathing, and wheezing.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a severe allergic reaction that often includes swelling of the face, mouth, and throat and can lead to a serious drop in blood pressure or unconsciousness. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated immediately with epinephrine. Anaphylaxis can be caused by a minute amount of food or food traces coming in contact with the allergic person.

Can food allergies be cured or outgrown?

There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. While some children outgrow their allergies, peanut, tree nut, fish, and shell fish allergies are currently considered to be life-long.

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