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Taking the Bite out of Food Allergy

Food allergies affect up to 6 percent of children under the age of 3 and around 1.5 percent of adults.1,2 That may seem like peanuts compared to the huge number of people who suffer from allergic rhinitis. But food allergies--especially peanut and tree nut allergies--pack a potentially serious punch. There is absolutely no safe way to treat or prevent them, and about 100 people die in the United States every year from food-induced anaphylaxis. The best those with severe allergies can do is carry

Sara Latta

Food allergies affect up to 6 percent of children under the age of 3 and around 1.5 percent of adults.1,2 That may seem like peanuts compared to the huge number of people who suffer from allergic rhinitis. But food allergies--especially peanut and tree nut allergies--pack a potentially serious punch. There is absolutely no safe way to treat or prevent them, and about 100 people die in the United States every year from food-induced anaphylaxis. The best those with severe allergies can do is carry an emergency dose of epinephrine and avoid the offending food.

That's easier said than done. Peanuts, for example, contain some of the most potent food allergens and are often hidden ingredients in prepared foods. There have even been reports of peanut-allergic people suffering severe reactions by simply inhaling or touching peanut "dust" from commercial airline snacks.3

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