If it seems like there are a lot of food allergies these days, you're right. Or, at least, there is a lot more attention paid to food allergies now than there used to be.
ESU Health Promotions professor Dr. Jennifer Thomas discussed food allergies at length in her monthly on-air visit to the KVOE studios this week. She believes the widespread use of processed food may be at least partially at fault.
Eight percent of children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, with the most common allergies including milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, seafood and tree nuts. Symptoms can include rashes, hives, nausea, vomiting, sneezing and itching. In more serious cases, victims can have shortness of breath, increased heart rate or even loss of consciousness.
People can have food intolerances as well, although the physical reactions don't happen nearly as immediately as they do for allergies. People suffering from food allergies usually have adverse reactions to one or two foods at most, while they can be intolerant to a wide variety of foods.
Dr. Jen's information on food allergies and other recent stops is available on KVOE.com.