Allergies

Demystifying Allergies

An excerpt from Allergy Sense

What is a Food Allergy?

young girl scratiching her arm standing against a blue background

A food allergy is when the body’s immune system responds inappropriately and reacts to food as a foreign invader.

Our bodies are protected by a sophisticated defence system called the immune system. The immune system can identify and destroy foreign substances that do not belong in the body, such as viruses, bacteria and parasites.

The first time the body detects a foreign antigen, the immune system makes specific antibodies against it. Antibodies keep us safe by attacking the invader and destroying it.

lady wearing a mask with a vanilla milkshake in front of her sitting at a white table against a yellow background

The next time the antigen is detected, these antibodies are now preformed, ready and waiting and can thus attack the foreign invader even faster. This is referred to as immunity.

With a food allergy, the immune system mistakenly targets food as a foreign invader. Allergies can be unpredictable. They may improve or become worse over time. In general, most children who are allergic to cow’s milk or eggs will outgrow their allergies. About 20% of children with peanut allergy may outgrow this allergy. While children with tree nut and fish allergies are unlikely to outgrow them.

Hear are some of the...

Most common food allergies:

milk in a bottle alongside a glass

Allergen

cow's milk

Incidence

2-3%

Chance to outgrow

Most (>90%) will

3 hens eggs

Allergen

hen's eggs

Incidence

2%

Chance to outgrow

Most (>90%) will

peanuts shelled, half shelled and de-shelled

Allergen

peanuts

Incidence

1% and growing

Chance to outgrow

20%

black and white sesame seeds

Allergen

sesame

Incidence

On the increase

Chance to outgrow

Seldom outgrown

different kinds of fish

Allergen

fish

Incidence

Mostly adult onset

Chance to outgrow

Unlikely outgrown

3 plates of different shellfish

Allergen

shellfish

Incidence

Adult onset

Chance to outgrow

Unlikely outgrown

wheat grains and kernels

Allergen

wheat

Incidence

1%

Chance to outgrow

Usually outgrown

bag and heap of soya beans

Allergen

soya

Incidence

10% of children with cow’s milk allergy

Chance to outgrow

Usually outgrown

pile of mixed nuts

Allergen

tree nuts

Incidence

Less common than peanut allergy

Chance to outgrow

Seldom outgrown

Recipes

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