Food Allergy Awareness Week

May 11, 2016

I was once criticized for being “too politically correct” for requesting products without peanuts for a community Easter Egg Hunt. However, according to Food Allergy Research and Education, 1 in 13 children have a food allergy. Strict avoidance is the only way to avoid a potentially life-threatening reaction. I wasn’t trying to be politically correct. I was trying to prevent a tragedy.

It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week.

The idea that allergies are a fad or a mere annoyance may come from confusion about the difference between allergies and intolerances. In an allergy, the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts by causing symptoms.

Common reactions are:

Skin rash
Swelling of the lips
Shortness of breath
Stomach pain
A feeling of dread

This can lead to anaphylaxis, which cause a person to go into shock; experience a sudden drop in blood pressure and result in the airway narrowing, blocking normal breathing.

Intolerances, on the other hand, are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems. It does not involve the immune system. Examples include, lactose intolerance and food additive sensitivity. If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food without trouble or take medication to lessen the effects.