Reports: Rate of childhood peanut allergies on the rise
There has been a rise in childhood food allergies in recent years. The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest about two students per classroom have a food allergy.
A food allergy occurs when the body has a specific and reproducible immune response to certain foods.
The body’s immune response can be severe and life threatening, such as anaphylaxis. Although the immune system normally protects people from germs, in people with food allergies, the immune system mistakenly responds to food as if it were harmful.
According to a new report from the National Health Interview Survey, 5.8% of children have a food allergy.
Peanut allergy is one of the most common and dangerous food allergies. Violent reactions to peanuts lead to more emergency room visits than any other food, research shows.
Over the last two decades, the prevalence of peanut allergies in children has more than tripled. Neither the State Department of Health nor State Education Department keep data on peanut allergies in New York, but there is a new statewide initiative this year to raise awareness.
As of May, any business that serves food in New York must display an allergy notice. It includes steps that staff can follow to prevent cross contamination and help a customer who may have an allergic reaction.
“Food allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis outside of a hospital setting and peanuts are among several common foods that can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction, which is why the Department encourages establishments that care for children maintain a detailed plan to avoid accidental exposure to allergens,” a DOH spokesperson said.