A new study has revealed that food allergies are gradually increasing in children, and the problem is doubling among black children.
The study was published on Monday in the March issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
The study suggests that food allergy nearly doubled in black children over 23 years.
For the study, the researchers analyzed 452,237 children from 1988 to 2011. During the study, it was found that food allergy was increasing among black children at a rate of 2.1 percent per decade, 1.2 percent among Hispanics and 1 percent among whites.
Lead author Corinne Keet, MD, MS at Johns Hopkins University, says, “Our research found a striking food allergy trend that needs to be further evaluated to discover the cause.”
According to the researcher, although African Americans generally have higher levels of IgE, it is only recently that they have reported food allergy more frequently than white children.
IgE is the antibody the immune system creates more of when one has an allergy.
“Whether the observed increase is due to better recognition of food allergy or is related to environmental changes remains an open question,” he stresses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also posted the guidelines on its website over curbing the problem. The measures included restricting nuts, shellfish or other foods that can cause allergic reactions. Moreover, it also laid stress upon beefing up emergency measures by keeping allergy medicines like EpiPens available in the campus.
Following are the guidelines issued by the CDC:
- Ensure the daily management of food allergies in individual children.
- Prepare for food allergy emergencies.
- Provide professional development on food allergies for staff members.
- Educate children and family members about food allergies.
- Create and maintain a healthy and safe educational environment.
The most common food allergy symptoms include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting