Food Allergy Statistics


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food-allergy-statisticsHow Many People Have Food Allergies?

Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S. That’s roughly two in every classroom. The economic cost of children’s food allergies is nearly $25 billion per year.

Food Allergies on the Rise

According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. The number of people who have a food allergy is growing, but there is no clear answer as to why. Researchers are trying to discover why food allergies are on the rise in developed countries worldwide, and to learn more about the impact of the disease in developing nations. More than 17 million Europeans have a food allergy, and hospital admissions for severe reactions in children have risen seven-fold over the past decade, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI).

Food Allergy Reactions & Anaphylaxis

Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department – that is more than 200,000 emergency department visits per year. A reaction to food can range from a mild response (such as an itchy mouth) to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18. Food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting.

Once an anaphylactic reaction starts, a medication called epinephrine is the first line of defense to treat the reaction, and you should immediately seek emergency medical attention by calling 911. You can protect yourself by learning the symptoms of allergic reactions and knowing what steps to take if you have a severe reaction. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. Individuals with food allergies who also have asthma may be at increased risk for severe/fatal food allergy reactions. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may recur after initially subsiding and experts recommend an observation period of about four hours to monitor that the reaction has been resolved. It is possible to have anaphylaxis without any skin symptoms (no rash, hives).
Failure to promptly (i.e., within minutes) treat food anaphylaxis with epinephrine is a risk factor for fatalities.

Is There a Cure?

There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.

Source: The Food Allergy Research & Education organization

Food allergy information and statistics

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