Health Science

Food Allergies Are Getting Increasingly Common, This Might Be Why

Photo: So Delicious

Children are far more likely to develop food allergies around the world, and researchers are trying to find out why this is happening and how it can be prevented.

So, is the world becoming more allergic to food? Statistically, it would appear so. Food allergy affects about 7 percent of children in the UK and 9 percent of Australian children. 2 percent of European adults have food allergies, according to BBC News. They commissioned and published an analysis piece on the topic, written by an expert in the field of food allergies, Dr. Alexandra Santos, a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Pediatric Allergy, King’s College London.

The topic is pretty serious. A few teenagers died because of peanut, sesame and dairy allergies. And for people who suffer from allergies and their care-takers, life is very stressful. Dietary restrictions can become huge burdens for people in those situations.

The reason why food allergy rates are increasing is still not 100 percent clear, but researchers are working on it.

Food Allergies – Why Are They Increasing?
Some of the most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, and shellfish.

The causes of food allergies

But why do food allergies happen? They are a way for your immune system to fight allergens, substances in the environment that it should see as harmless. Among the symptoms are skin redness, breaking out into hives, swelling, but even diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing and in the worst case, anaphylactic shock. Some of the most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, and shellfish.

The frequency of allergies has gone up in the past three decades, especially in industrialized societies.  In the UK, between 1995 and 2016, peanut allergies increased fivefold. Research on 1,300 3-year-olds at King’s College London suggested that 2.5 percent have peanut allergies.

According to Dr. Santos, this increase is not just the effect of society becoming better at diagnosing the allergies. But some of the causes scientists bet on are environmental and related to Western lifestyles, because they occur more frequently in urban areas, for one. These factors are under extensive review: pollution, dietary changes, and less exposure to microbes. Another theory is that urban populations live in environments that are too clean and so the immune system has no parasites to fight. And also that urban populations don’t get enough vitamin D because they don’t spend enough time in the sun.

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Film/Television Health

Parents Are Boycotting The New ‘Peter Rabbit’ Movie For Mocking Food Allergies

Beatrix Potter is turning over in her grave, and it’s all thanks to the controversy surrounding Peter Rabbit, a movie based on her timeless children’s book.

One scene from the film features the main rabbit, played by James Corden, leading his fellow bunnies in an all-out blackberry assault against the main villain, Mr. McGregor. McGregor just so happens to be allergic to the berries, and is forced to use an EpiPen after going into anaphylactic shock. That didn’t sit too well with some food allergy advocacy groups, since it sells the idea that mocking or bullying someone because of their allergies is okay.

Both the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Kids with Food Allergies organizations posted warnings about Peter Rabbit regarding the scene, FOX11 reports. People on Twitter have also taken up their pitchforks over the movie scene, utilizing the hashtag #BoycottPeterRabbit to either voice their support or criticize the boycott as being hypersensitive.

SONY Pictures and the filmmakers have since apologized for including the scene, regretting that they were not “more aware and sensitive to the issue.”

Feel Good Health Now Trending

How Putting Out Teal Pumpkins This Halloween Can Save Childrens’ Lives

Halloween is almost upon us, which means that you’re probably heading to stores soon to pick up candies, pumpkins, and decorations for trick-or-treaters to enjoy. While there, you may wanna pick up some toys and blue-green paint for a pumpkin or two, because those teal pumpkins could help same some lives this holiday.

teal pumpkins

Photo courtesy of Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE)

By placing teal pumpkins outside of your home, you become a part of the international Teal Pumpkin Project run by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). Inspired by a mother who didn’t want her children to feel left out on Halloween, the project aims to provide non-food treats to kids suffering from food allergies around the world on the holiday.

Homes that have these pumpkins provide glowsticks, stickers, and other fun non-food treats that children can play with, which hopefully prevents them from eating candies that can induce life-threatening allergenic reactions.

As many as six million children in the United States alone suffer from food allergies, a staggering eight percent of the youth population. Research suggests that that number may increase over time, making awareness of these adverse food reactions all the more important.

This year, FARE hopes to get at least one house with teal pumpkins on every block this year to make an allergy-free Halloween more accessible to all. Those interested in participating simply need to paint a pumpkin the requisite color and place it in view so families with kids that have food allergies know which houses they can go to. There are also signs and fliers you can post to indicate that you have non-food treats available.

If you do choose to participate in this project, you could potentially be saving the lives of kids in your neighborhood that might eat life-threatening treats otherwise.

Health News

Peanuts Help Infants Avoid Peanut Allergies, Per New NIH Guideline


Photo: Medical News Today

Peanut allergies are some of the deadliest and well-known in the United States. While only a small proportion of Americans have this allergy, its symptoms are severe, with even just a little peanut dust potentially being able to cause anaphylactic shock and death in some.

While there is no cure for this allergen, the National Institute for Health (NIH) believes they’ve found a way to keep your infant from developing this deadly allergy.

New guidelines have been issued by the NIH to healthcare providers regarding the introduction of foods containing peanuts to infants to prevent the development of this allergy.

The new guidelines are extremely vigilant, with allergy tests being included to determine the safety of introducing peanuts into the diet, and introduction occurring slowly at 4-6 months of age — after other solid food has been introduced to infants and they begin to eat it.

The guidelines also specifically focus on eczema, a dry skin condition more prevalent in infants likely to have a peanut allergy, and characterizes the rates of introduction of peanut foods based on the presence of eczema.

It sounds crazy to give someone who may have peanut allergies peanuts as an act of prevention. However, it’s based off of the concept of vaccination, where a milder form of the virus is administered so that the immune system can recognize and easily destroy it.

It seems that the same concept works for peanut allergies. Research has shown that infant peanut consumption has the ability to prevent peanut allergies. That same research prompted these new guidelines from the NIH.

While we definitely recommend that you get this verified with your doctor before trying, it’s worth a shot to keep peanut allergies from occurring with your child.