Food allergies: fibs and facts

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From peanut problems to shellfish shock, food allergies are on the rise. But don't swear off any food groups until you take our quiz,

One in four adults has some sort of food allergy. T/F

Kids rarely outgrow their food allergies. T/F

You can have a reaction to a food you didn't eat. T/F

A food allergy can be inherited from your parents. T/F

If you didn't have allergies as a kid, you're safe. T/F

False Though one in four adults believes he or she has a food allergy, only 2% of adults actually do, reports the American College of Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology. Most people who react to a food have an intolerance--with consequences like an upset stomach. Allergies trigger an overreaction by the immune system, resulting in rashes, swelling, or blood pressure and breathing trouble.

False Research shows that 20% of affected children eventually outgrow peanut allergies, while 10% will shed their allergies to tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, and pistachios). If you suspect that your child is no longer allergic, ask his physician for an oral food challenge, a supervised trial-and-error test.

True Simply touching an offending food can cause a reaction in severe allergy sufferers; so can kissing someone who has recently eaten the food.

True A child whose parents both have allergies is 75% more likely to develop one than a kid whose parents don't have any allergies.

False Food allergies can develop at any point in a person's life.
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By Rachel Meltzer

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