In recent years there has been an inproportional rise in food allergies among children. What are their causes and what is the reason behind this rise?
style=”font-size: 12;”>Recently highlighted by the tragic death of a six-year-old Australian girl last year, food allergies can be a life threatening condition. To make things worse, researchers have found the condition to be rising among children all over the world, particularly in the west. In the UK, about 7% of children are affected by food allergies. The reasons behind this rise are unclear, scientists have speculated on their causes for a number of years.
Causes of food allergies
When the immune system of our body targets some harmless environmental substances (allergens) and fight against it, allergic reactions occur. Some of the most common food allergy symptoms include:
- Redness in the Skin
- Hives and Swelling
- Breathing Difficulties
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- ùAnaphylactic shock
Foods such as milk and other dairy products, eggs, peanuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, as well as tree nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc. are some of the most common substances that trigger allergic reactions in children.
Reasons behind its rise
There is no single conclusive reason behind this sudden rise in food allergies. Ironically, one possible explanation is the improved hygiene has made our parasitic immune system less useful. Looking for work, it starts to fight against substances that are harmless, in turn causing allergic reactions.
Another possible explanation is the lack of sunlight in parts of the world, where many people suffer from lack of Vitamin D, which in turn impairs the healthy response required to tackle allergies.
Furthermore, a new theory termed as “dual allergens exposure” suggests that a combination of timing, dose, and the type of exposure is causing this heightened case of food allergies. In fact, conversely, the “dual allergens exposure” hypothesis dictates that the more of an allergen we consume when we are younger, the better the tolerance we develop; eating trigger foods during weaning can be helpful in preventing the development of allergies.