8 Dangerous Food Allergies
- 8 Dangerous Food AllergiesAllergic reactions might start with a mild symptom, such as tingling lips or flushed skin. But serious food allergies can eventually cause trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, and even death. These eight foods account for about 90% of all allergic reactions to foods—and are often to blame for life-threatening reactions in adults and kids.
- 1. Tree nutsNut allergies are typically among the most severe food allergies, causing swift and dangerous reactions. You may be allergic to one or more hard-shelled nuts, including walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts. Often, it's easier to steer clear of all of them rather than risk confusion about nut types.
- 2. PeanutsPeanuts are actually legumes, like beans and peas. But peanut allergies often go hand in hand with other nut allergies—and can be just as risky. Peanuts can appear in unlikely places, such as ground-up in candies. Read labels carefully, and ask questions when you eat out.
- 3. ShellfishCrustaceans such as crab, lobster, and shrimp contain a compound called tropomyosin, which often triggers severe reactions. Shellfish allergies tend to develop in adulthood. Interestingly, some of these adults may have been exposed to cockroaches as children. Doctors suspect many people develop cross-reactivity to cockroaches and shellfish—when being allergic to one thing increases your risk for a reaction to another allergen.
- 4. Fin FishAs more people worldwide add fish to their diets, the number of people with allergic reactions has increased. Fish with fins—including salmon, tuna and cod—contain allergens such as parvalbumin. In addition, fish that isn't refrigerated properly can cause an allergy-like reaction called histamine toxicity.
- 5. MilkMilk protein is the most common food allergy in children. Cow, goat, and sheep milk can rarely cause severe allergic reactions in children. Some outgrow it, while others must avoid dairy their entire lives. To check your child's status, the pediatrician may give him or her an allergy test. If the allergy has subsided, your child can try small amounts of milk under a doctor's supervision.
- 6. EggsIf you have an egg allergy, a specific protein in egg whites sets off your immune system. But because yolks often contain bits of the whites, too, it's not safe to eat any egg products at all—including low-cholesterol egg substitutes. Ask your doctor about vaccines, some of which contain egg proteins. And watch for hidden egg ingredients, such as egg-based glaze on baked goods.
- 7. WheatFor people with a condition called celiac disease, eating foods containing gluten—a protein in wheat, rye, and barley—causes damage to the intestines. But wheat can cause immediate allergic reactions, too. Fortunately, wheat allergy is rare. And gluten-free foods abound, including other whole grains like corn, quinoa, and rice.
- 8. SoyThough less common than milk allergy, soy allergy often appears in infancy, too, when babies are fed soy formula. Soybeans contain several proteins that can set off severe allergic responses. You may be able to eat some processed foods that contain soy, since different preparation methods can alter these proteins. Ask your doctor or nutritionist.
8 Dangerous Food Allergies