Food allergies affect approximately 15 million Americans, including 6 million children.
A food allergy results when your immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein — like wheat, dairy or shellfish — as a threat and attacks it. Usually within minutes, the body reacts with symptoms ranging from hives, itchy mouth, nausea or vomiting, to more severe symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing or changes in pulse. In some cases, the response could escalate to a potentially life-threatening condition.
To create awareness of food allergies, the entire month of May is dedicated to Food Allergy Action Month. Special attention is focused during Food Allergy Awareness Week, which falls May 14 – 20.
Test your knowledge about food allergies by taking this short quiz.
- How many children are affected by a food allergy?
a. 1 in 5
b. 1 in 8
c. 1 in 13
d. 1 in 16
- What is the cure for food allergies?
a. gradual introduction of the allergen
b. no cure exists
c. daily medication
d. add the allergen to special recipes
- There are eight foods that cause the most reactions. Which of the following is not one of the eight?
- What color is associated with food allergy awareness?
How did you do on the quiz?
C — One in 13 children are affected by a food allergy. The number of children with a food allergy increased 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
B — There is no cure. Strict avoidance of food allergens and early recognition of allergic reactions to food are important measures to prevent life-threatening consequences.
A — People can be allergic to any food, but beans are not considered in the top eight that cause the most reactions. The top eight foods are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.
D — Teal is associated with food allergy awareness. You may see friends with food allergies using #TealTakeover to create awareness on social media this month.