Food allergy

A food allergy is a reaction of the body's immune system to otherwise harmless substances in certain foods. This is different from a food intolerance, which does not necessarily involve the immune system. Although 25% of people believe they are allergic to certain foods, only 4 to 8% of children and 2% of adults have diagnosed food allergies. While most food allergies are mild, in some cases they can cause anaphylactic shock, a serious, sometimes life-threatening reaction. Food allergies affect mostly young children, and about 90% of these allergies are caused by 8 foods: cow's milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish. With the exception of peanut allergy, the majority of children outgrow their food allergies by early adolescence.

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Review Date: 2/3/2016  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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