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Do Many Americans Suffer from Food Allergies?

Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts have discovered that food allergies and intolerances are not quite as prevalent as previously thought. The researchers reviewed the electronic health records of 2.7 million Boston-area patients, and found that only 97,482 patients -- about 3.6 percent -- had any type of negative reaction to food, according to their report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Young children had higher rates of allergies than adults, and allergy rates increased each year between 2000 and 2013. Typical allergic reactions included hives, vomiting, shortness of breath, wheezing, itching, and anaphylaxis.

Could have been something you ate:

  • The most common allergens: shellfish, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and peanuts -- in that order. The study also found that women and people of Asian descent have a higher predisposition to food allergies.

  • Food allergies are often self-diagnosed, and medical professionals sometimes find symptoms challenging to interpret, according to National Public Radio.

  • There are fewer than 7,000 allergists and immunologists working in the United States, which may not be enough to care for the number of people suffering from allergies.

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More Info: The New York Times

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