Bored Immune Systems Cause U.S. Food Allergy Epidemic?
The last 10 years have seen a marked increase in the number of Americans with food allergies. One in 17 children has a food allergy, and those numbers are on the rise. Anne Munoz-Furlong of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis cites the near eradication of childhood illnesses as a factor. She suggests that the immune system, seeking to carrying out its role as the body’s defense system, mistakenly targets proteins of viable food substances. The resulting symptoms range from hives and gastrointestinal distress to anaphylactic shock and death. There are eight foods that are the major triggers of food allergies: milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish. These foods are very basic to the American diet and are difficult to avoid. Munoz-Furlong suggests education as the most important defense in fighting the new onslaught of allergies. Ledger–Enquirer.com, April 1, 2008