Understanding food allergies is important to leading a healthy life for kids with allergies. You need to know the answers to the questions: What is an allergen? and What are food allergens? That way you can make sure your kids eat an allergy friendly diet.
Eating Edible makes sure our care packages for kids with food allergies are clearly labeled so that everyone knows everything in our care packages. They are for kids with allergies — especially students and campers who want delicious food allergy free desserts that fit special dietary needs! We offer gluten free, dairy free, egg free and wheat free care packages all rolled up into one amazing care package for kids withe food allergies. It is really important that you can trust that our care packages are safe for your kids with allergies, whether it is your college student and your child at summer camp.
What is an allergen?
An allergen is any normally harmless substance that causes a reaction in an allergic person. The immune system of a person with allergies responds to an allergen in much the same way the immune system normally responds to a germ, or antigen.
What are food allergens?
Food allergens are typically naturally-occurring proteins in foods or derivatives of them that cause abnormal immune responses. Prevalence of food allergies around the world is believed to be increasing.
When a person has a food allergy and ingest an allergen, the body responds like it would to the attack of a sickness like the flu. The body’s immune system produces antibodies to fight off the attack. With food allergies, the body’s immune system produces an antibody in response to a specific substance (or allergen) in the food—usually a protein. This antibody is the body’s way of protecting itself against an “attack” by the allergen. As the body tries to fight back, symptoms can appear including an inability to think clearly, swelling of the lips and/or tongue, loss of balance, stomach pain and vomiting, intestinal distress, hives and rashes, and difficulty breathing. Sometimes, depending on the food allergy, the effects can be severe. Generally, the only way to avoid these symptoms is to avoid the offending foods.
Remember, just because it doesn’t kill you doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.
Not all food allergies put your life in immediate danger BUT you can still be very allergic and suffer serious symptoms.
The eight most common foods – dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy – account for 90% of all food allergic reactions in the United States.
NOTE: Gluten is not on this list but it should be! This list is created by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) and should have included gluten. Celiac disease and gluten allergy are very common.
Reactions to food allergens vary greatly. Where in one person with a dairy allergy, milk may cause ear aches, in another it could provoke a skin rash; in one person with a gluten allergy, gluten may cause wheezing in one person but in another intestinal distress. Sometimes reactions can be stimulated by inhaling the allergen, like in a bakery. There is no rule of thumb by which to diagnose a definitive food-reaction relationship. Keep a record of what the person has ingested over the course of of several days or weeks and see an allergist.
Visit the Food Allergies Resources page of our site for links to support organizations and websites that provide more information.
Also take the time to visit our Celiac Disease and Gluten Resource page.