According to researchers, the number of people with food allergies has tripled in the last 10 years. 15 million people are living with food allergies in the United States. 1 in 13 are children. That means approximately 1.15 million kids have food allergies.
Hospitals are also seeing an increase in emergency department visits and hospital admissions due to food-induced anaphylaxis among children. In a new study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Illinois hospitals saw a 30% increase in the number of kids being admitted to the hospital or treated in the emergency room for suffering allergic reactions to food during a five-year period.
Researchers at Northwestern University studied data from 1,893 emergency department visits at about 200 hospitals in Illinois from 2008-2012. The study also showed that food allergies affect children of all ethnicities and socioeconomic status. The most common food allergens linked to emergency visits were tree nuts, peanuts and milk.
With this increase in individuals with food allergies, many researchers are taking a closer look at dietary recommendations, especially for new parents.
One particular study is garnering a lot of attention - oral immunotherapy for infants. The current recommendation for new parents feeding children has been to wait until infants are a year old to introduce them to certain foods such as milk, eggs and peanuts. Researchers believe that may have been the wrong recommendation. Rather, parents should introduce those foods early in life before the immune system develops its defenses so that kids develop a tolerance to those foods. There have been trials in London and Houston that claim success when children are given peanuts early on.
This finding has also pushed for the development of the “peanut patch,” a treatment for individuals with peanut allergy. Individuals wear a small patch that contains a trace amount of peanut which is absorbed through the skin. Over time, the individual will develop a tolerance to peanuts and reduce an allergic reaction to peanuts. The peanut patch is still undergoing clinical trials. However, if all goes well, it may be commercially available in 2018. This is very exciting for individuals with peanut allergies.
We will continue to follow this research and bring you the latest updates.
If consumers with food allergies are exposed to food allergens that are not supposed to be in packaged foods or restaurant meals, they may suffer serious allergic reactions or life-threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis. In such situations, consumers have legal rights and may be able to file claims against the manufacturers and restaurants. If you want to know what your legal rights are, call our PA and NJ food allergy lawyer, Daniel J. O’Brien at 877.944.8396 to schedule a FREE consultation.
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