Why are food allergies increasing?

Research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that food allergies have increased 50% between 1997 and 2011.

Food allergies now affect 1 out of every 13 children, or on average two children per classroom.

Food allergies cause 300,000 medical visits per year for children under age 18. Most of the allergic reactions are from milk, eggs, and peanuts.

Why have food allergies increased? One theory is called the “hygiene hypothesis”. The theory is that the lack of exposure to agents during childhood creates a situation where the immune system mistakes food for an invading germ.

It is estimated that there are 200 deaths from severe allergic reactions a year.


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