Experts Offer Advice for Fighting Food Allergies

Published 09/25 2013 12:28PM

Updated 09/25 2013 09:08PM

(MANHATTAN, Ks.) Food allergies are on the rise.

They've increased fifty percent from 1997 to 2011 according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"It affects any age group, a lot of kids, but it can also affect adults and it can happen at any time," said Kansas State University Food Safety Specialist Karen Blakeslee.

She says there are more than 160 foods that have been known to cause allergic reactions, but eight foods cause 90 percent of food allergies. Those are milk, fish, soybeans, shellfish, wheat, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

Symptoms can range from mild reactions like sneezing to severe reactions like swelling of the throat.

Researchers have not determined why food allergies are on the rise.

"Our immune system naturally fights off viruses or bacteria and in this case allergens. For whatever reason, your immune system all of a sudden sees a protein in a food and says that is an enemy and that is going to trigger an allergic reaction," added Blakeslee.

There is no cure for allergies, only ways to prevent a reaction.

As help for those with allergies, the United States Department of Agriculture now requires food labels to have an allergen section.

The CDC offers the following advice for managing food allergies:

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