Food allergy can develop at any age, but most cases of food allergy occur during the first few years of life, so it is not surprising that 1 in 10 infants¹ will develop a food allergy while only 1 in 50 adults² have a food allergy in Australia. Most children outgrow their allergy (depending on the type of food allergy), however some adults develop a food allergy later in life after eating the food allergen for years without a problem.
The severity of an allergic reaction can be unpredictable and even when an adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector is not prescribed, a person with food allergies will need to be cautious to avoid the food as sometimes reactions can be rather severe and even life-threatening.
There are more than 170 foods known to trigger severe allergic reactions. However, the most common triggers, causing most of the allergic reactions are egg, cows’ milk, peanut, tree nuts (such as cashew and almond), sesame, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.
Currently there is no cure for food allergy and therefore avoidance of the food is the only way to prevent a reaction. A correct diagnosis of food allergies is important. Tell your doctor and/or dietitian if you suspect any possible food allergy related symptoms.
1 in 10 infants are diagnosed with food allergy and there are more than 170 foods known to trigger severe allergic reactions
- Osborne et al. Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy using population-based sampling and predetermined challenge criteria in infants. J Allergy Clin Immunolol 2011; 127: 668-676
- Food Allergy, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Available: http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/food-allergy [Accessed 18 May 2016]