Food, a necessity for all and something very delicious, but also deadly for some people. Not everyone can live free of food allergies. Food allergies occur in 1 out of every 13 children. This indicates over fifteen million people in the world suffer from food allergies. The food epidemic poses a threat to many citizens that live with food allergies because of incorrect labeling, distribution and safety in the preparation of food. My research highlights two key items: (1) definition of food allergies and how they affect the daily lives of those living with them and (2) the importance of food allergy knowledge and how educating people about food allergies will hopefully jumpstart the progress to find a cure.
Food allergies were reported, but not officially researched until 1976, when the public became aware of the immune system’s response to certain foods. The data collected showed that certain foods caused reactions in people, which provoked further research on such topics. Food allergy awareness came about in 1976 through newspapers and periodicals because of reports that people perished from ingesting food that they unknowingly had an allergic reaction to. A huge movement took place worldwide to show the dangers of food allergies. A few years later and as a result of this movement, the first Epi-Pen launched in the United States in 1980. Truly considered an amazing new beginning due to the fact that every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department ("Food Allergy Facts and Statistics - FAAN").
What exactly are food allergies? Food allergies essentially occur as a result of the immune system attacking a mistaken food protein or an allergen. When this attack on the foods protein happens, a reaction occurs. Minimal reactions include a cough, excessive salivation or even itching. But other reactions may occur, such as a pain and Anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis, which defines a severe allergic reaction, may threaten breathing and blood circulation, which can ultimately cause death. “Each year in the United States, the estimate of anaphylaxis to food results in: 30,000 emergency room visits, 2000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths ("Food Allergies: What You Need to Know"). When Anaphylaxis occurs, one should immediately call 911 and administer an Epi-pen if available. While the person experiences anaphylaxis, do not try to adjust the person into an upright position. In an Epi-pen, the drug epinephrine compacts into a tiny plastic auto injector. The process includes injecting the Epi-pen into the thigh, so the medicine can reach the bloodstream easily. Epinephrine, a highly effective medication, can reverse severe symptoms ("Food Allergy Facts and Statistics - FAAN").
Teenagers and young adults with food allergies pose the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis. Although anyone with a food allergy can experience anaphylaxis, the foods most likely to cause severe reactions...