Certain allergens cause most food allergies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a list of foods that are known to cause food allergies more than others. According to the FDA, there are more than 160 foods that can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies. There are eight foods that cause 90 percent of food allergic reactions. These eight foods are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Many food products include these ingredients, and processed or ready-made baked goods, frozen foods, snack foods, cereals, and dairy products contain one or more of these ingredients.

Serious Symptoms

Food allergy to one of these eight ingredients can cause serious symptoms or a reaction that requires emergency medical treatment. A peanut allergy can cause anaphylaxis, a serious reaction that must be treated immediately. Swelling of the throat can occur from any of the eight major allergens, causing a person to suffocate when his or her throat swells. The airways to the lungs can swell as well, making breathing extremely difficult. Anaphylactic shock is a whole-body response that involves dangerously low blood pressure and shock.

Parental Awareness

Because of the danger of food allergy, parents of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers should carefully watch their children each time that they eat a new food. If there are any allergic symptoms that develop, it is extremely important to pay attention to these. It is a fact that mild symptoms from eating peanut butter or another of the eight common food allergens can be severe the second or third time that a food is eaten. For this reason, call your doctor if any sign of allergy develops, and do not allow your child to eat the food again.

Food allergy and anaphylaxis are the reasons for more than 30,000 emergency room visits each year. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 150 people die needlessly from this cause. Anyone who has previously had a bout of anaphylaxis needs to have an epinephrine auto-injector available at all times. At the first sign of an allergic reaction, the epinephrine should be used.

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