The Truth About Food Allergies
Food Allergy Myth #1 They aren’t real
As stated above, they are very real. To lend some perspective about the prevalence of food allergies, 18 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes.
The type and severity of food allergies can be lined up along a Food Allergy Spectrum; the low end includes sensitivity to specific foods, while the high end includes toxic or anaphylactic responses. Food sensitivities or intolerance are just as serious as food allergies, though the types of reactions may be less dramatic in appearance.
An allergy to one food means you aren’t allergic to other foods
Many food allergic people have multiple food allergies. Children with food allergies are 2-4 times more likely to have other allergies, and conditions such as asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.
Allergies to very specific items – such as eggs –are tricky in that people with this allergy can’t eat eggs themselves and can’t eat anything made with eggs either.
If you don’t see a reaction on the outside, the allergy isn’t serious
Reactions to a food allergy can manifest in many ways, and may vary by person and incidence. Some people break out in hives, while others display no outward symptoms. It’s important to note that, regardless of the outward reaction, all food allergies usually do some degree of internal damage to the body, some of which can be irreparable.
A little bit won’t hurt you
For many food allergic people, even a little bit of the allergen is enough to do harm, whether the person is aware of it or not. Something as simple as using the same butter as others is enough; the butter may become cross-contaminated by the allergen.
Someone with food allergies isn’t trying to reduce the amount of allergens they eat like someone who is trying to lose weight reduces their caloric intake. Rather, they need to completely protect themselves from the food to which they are allergic. Those foods are a poison to the allergic person and should be treated as such.
Food allergies are only a problem if one ingests the allergen
Many people with food allergies are also allergic to those same foods in other forms: they may not be able to touch them, smell them or even be in the same room with them. In most cases, these types of allergies show up on the high end of the Food Allergy Spectrum (think of people who have an anaphylactic response to the smell of peanuts). This is just one more reminder that, to some people, food can be as toxic as any other poison.
Food allergies can’t kill you
A waitress actually once said this to me: “Well, it’s not like you’re going to die if you eat some wheat, right?” Do I have to die in order for a food allergy to be serious? And food allergies can and do kill people. In fact, about 150 people die in the U.S. each yearfrom anaphylaxis due to a food allergy. But that doesn’t mean that food allergies aren’t slowly killing many other people.
Catherine Mason is a writer, former educator, and someone who has multiple food allergies. As Tribe Leader & Chief Wellness Coach at www.mydietribe.com, she helps people identify, assimilate and maintain sustainable health and wellness practices in their everyday lives, with a focus on physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and financial wellness. Catherine may be contacted at email@example.com, and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@mydietribe).
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