CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thirty-two million Americans have food allergies, including more than five million children under the age of 18.
A new study revealed that 1.5 million people may have a sesame allergy in the United States. That would make sesame the country’s ninth most common food allergy.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction to food can range from an itchy mouth and a skin rash, to severe throat tightening and difficulty breathing.
According to the Food Allergy Research and Education, 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions. There are eight major food allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
In the United States, the top food allergens are required to appear on food labels when they’re among a product’s ingredients.
Springfield Allergy Specialist, Dr. Robert McGovern, told 22News he uses specific tests to diagnose food allergies, and whether your body has the capability of fighting them, “If you want to find out if you have a food allergy you can be skin tested you can do blood testing to see if you have an allergic antibody against the food in your system.”
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports food allergies increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
There is no cure for food allergies. They can only be managed by avoiding the problem foods and treating reactions.
It’s recommended that parents teach their younger children the foods they need to avoid and how to read ingredients on a food label.