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Spin-off from another question-Why so many allergies?

Before I ask this, let me just say I am not downplaying the seriousness of life-threatening food allergies, such as anaphylactic reactions to peanuts, etc. I'm just wondering WHY food allergies are so prevalent now. When I was a kid, I was allergic to artificial flavors, colors, preservatives,etc. and would get violently ill if I would eat something I wasn't supposed to. Thankfully I outgrew it. But, I was the only kid I knew with a food allergy. Now it seems to be everywhere! In my homeschooling group, almost every kid in the group, except for mine and a couple others have some food allergy or another. There are even several babies in our church nursery who are allergic to peanuts or dairy. I'm just wondering if anyone has any thoughts or theories as to why food allergies are so common now?

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Asked by Bethsunshine at 3:50 PM on Sep. 11, 2009 in Kids' Health

Level 24 (20,230 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • I know my daughter is allergic to aprictos and my son is allergic to strawberries. I am not sure why its so prevalent now, maybe because many of us recognize the signs of an allergic reaction quicker now so we know to keep our child away from that product! I dont really know though, im intereseted to see what other people have to say

    Answer by elananme at 3:58 PM on Sep. 11, 2009

  • I know there is research going on to see if the fact that we vax is why. Without real illness to deal with, our bodys may react to normal things instead (and no, I am not anti vax). Some people also think its that the genetic mods made to food give them things our bodys cannot handle as easily, and the body sees those as a threat. with peanuts specifically two generations ago it wasn't in EVERYTHING so there wasn't as much exposure. Also, in the past the bigger illnesses may have been so common that allergies were overlooked, now that people aren't dieing of measles and mumps, more attention is being cast on allergies. Finally because medicine is better, an allergy that before would have killed a child in toddler-hood is now saved and knows that allergy can kill them. (I never heard of an eni-pen till I was an adult and how many do they save each year?)

    Answer by auroura at 4:15 PM on Sep. 11, 2009

  • My theory is the air/water pollution. Pregnant women are breathing less clean air, drinking less clean water than 2 generations ago. Then the babies are breathing that air and drinking that water (in formula or through breast milk). Our filters are all messed up.

    That's just my theory. I see probably 20% of our preschoolers with food allergies. It has definitely increased in the 11 years I have worked there.

    Answer by kjrn79 at 5:11 PM on Sep. 11, 2009

  • One theory is that we've become too clearn. Our immune system is designed to fight dangerous foreign parasites. but clearn water, antibiotics and the like have eliminated the "toxic challenges". Kids born from C-section have more allergies maybe because they were never exposed to healthy bacteria in their mother's birth canals. The ide is since there isn't anything else to fight, the immune systems start battling egg or wheat instead.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:02 PM on Sep. 11, 2009

  • I think there are a few reasons or theories...
    one like the Anon poster said... we are too clean. Our bodies are bored... we don't have enough things to fight off and for some people their bodies over react to things that aren't a threat. You don't see allergies like this in places like Africa where their bodies have real things to fight off.
    Another reason is because allergies build from generation to generation... if both parents have allergies the childs risk is even greater.
    Also, with allergy testing... many doctors don't know how to read the test, so there are lots of false positves. So frequently if a person says they are allergic to a whole list of things... many aren't true allergies. It's not very common to have multiple food allergies, although some people do.
    And then there is a misunderstanding of what an allergy really is... allergy vs intolerance
    And then I think the environment plays a big role too

    Answer by AmiJanell at 11:26 PM on Sep. 11, 2009

  • im not sure either but, before my kids even started school with all the papers we got it told us to not bring snacks with peanuts in it or that was made in a factory that makes those kinda products.

    Answer by kd2kds at 11:26 AM on Sep. 12, 2009

  • There are so many factors involved. Formula feeding; introducing solids too soon; introducing allergy trigger foods (like dairy and nuts) too soon; etc.

    Answer by rkoloms at 5:48 PM on Sep. 12, 2009

  • vaccines

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:18 AM on Sep. 13, 2009

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