I remember growing up, I knew ONE kid with food allergies, and that was at a summer camp I went to. (K-12 I went to 3 different schools; class sizes were 42, 21, and 86; none of those kids had food allergies that I knew of.) And my dad is allergic to melons, but that’s the only food allergy in my family.
Now it seems like there are so many food allergies! And life-threatening ones, so kids are banned from bringing peanut butter to school, and homemade treats are banned from the classroom.
Do you have allergies? Do your offspring?
And why do you think allergies are so prevelent now?
I’ve seen articles suggesting we are “too clean”, so the immune system decides to attack food; I can see that, since they also say growing up with pets or on a farm lowers the risk of allergies and asthma. Or maybe it’s the amount of chemicals in our food? Or do you think it’s something else, if so, what?
I’ve been thinking about this again because we’re starting to introduce LO to solid foods, and everywhere I read about feeding baby, I see over and over again “watch for allergies! watch for allergies!”. I’ve seen people report that allergies don’t run in their family, yet their LO is allergic to a whole list of stuff already.
It would be interested to look at the prevalance of allergies in different populations in America: do poor people have more or less allergies? Do people without good access to health insurance have more or less allergies?
I think if a kid eats something, and he reacts to it, then the parents do one of two things: one, they take him to the doctor who confirms a mild allergy, and then the parents avoid that food strictly and so the kid never grows out of the allergy…or two, they just watch the kid carefully the next time he has that food, and if the reaction is not severe, they don’t worry about it.
Also some of the allergies I’ve heard are ridiculous. One kid i worked with had a “behavioral allergy” to corn…it apparently made her hyper. WHAT?
I didn’t vote because mine technically isn’t an allergy. I have celiac, which I had never even heard of until a few years ago. Unfortunately the odds of me passing it on to my unborn children are fairly high.
PS -hope you and little one are doing well! I enjoy reading your food posts because we have pretty similar eating styles
I do not have food allergies, neither do my husband. Neither do anyone in our families. We are both California natives.
We do not have children.
I was raised in a very poor household — we had to choose between electricity or food many months.
My husband grew up in an average household — no worries about food or electricity.
Edit: My suspicions on food allergies definitely fall within the “Too clean” theory. We are not exposing our children to these things. Women are told, while pregnant, “Do not eat X, Y, A, B or C under any circumstances” (A big one is peanuts, for example.)
If our children are not exposed, in reasonable amounts, to these allergens, there is a good chance that the human race will become completely exposed to them — to immunity or resistance built up to them. Just like if humans are not exposed to bacteria and viruses, our immune systems weaken dramatically and when we DO catch a cold, or the flu, it reaks havok in our bodies and people die.
I would never support giving a person who is highly allergic something that could kill them. I respect allergies — they are dangerous, even in mild forms. I do not, however, support hiding these allergens from non-allergic children. Our body needs to be occasionally tested and strained in order to keep it healthy.
@Hyperventilate: The reason I mentioned looking at different populatiosn within the country, like poor vs. rich, is that I think people who have more money and more access to health care and doctors are more likely to have children with allergies. I have worked in suburban and urban schools, and it was at the suburban schools where people couldn’t even bring peanut butter into school because of allergies. In urban schools (with the exception of one), the only problem was asthma. I think the hypervigilance and overdiagnosis of allergies is what makes the difference.
But that’s just anecdotal.
I’m lactose intolerant. I was raised in a typical middle class family but my parents are immigrants which means doctors are a last resort. Also my mom was raised on a farm so we are mostly healthy whole foods growing up and I went veg pretty young.
my sis has a slight reaction to tomatoes, but it’s never been confirmed.
I don’t think there is any one theory that encompasses all allergies. I find many are quick to use the hygiene hypothesis beyond what it is intended for. It’s a theory I do agree with when used correctly; the Th1 vs. Th2 immune response makes sense.
Another theory I don’t hear enough about is just based on child mortality. In undeveloped countries, children die in fairly large numbers. Those who are ‘sickly’ are more likely to die.
Growing up, I did know quite a few kids with food allergies, I think people are just a little hyperaware. I also think some of the so called food allergies aren’t food allergies, and some parents make a bigger deal out of them than what they actually are.
@Linz1231 – Thanks, we’re both doing great!
@peachacid – I grew up in a rural farming community, so that could be part of why I didn’t know any kids with allergies.
@peachacid: Growing up I always had healthcare — my mom got it through her work. When I was a kid, her employer paid for most of the fees. Our responsibility was co-pay and medications (And transport to get there). I rarely went to the doctor as a child, that happened more in my teens (When I had a life threatening kidney infection) and that’s when I discovered that I have an allergy to Penicillin. I did have “good” healthcare as a child, even though we were desperately poor. My husband definitely had the better “healthy” childhood growing up.
I have no allergies, neither does my husband or anyone in my family or his. Actually, I think my husband’s brother may be lactose intolerant to some degree, but he does eat dairy products still. I grew up in a middle income family, as did my husband, and we both ate healthy foods and unhealthy foods at times.
The school I currently work at has a no peanut rule that was just started this year. There is one kid in 5th grade who I know has a severe allergy to some nut products (which to me is the most common type of allergy), but I don’t know about anyone else. I think there may be a kindergartener with some severe allergies, but I think that’s to much more than food.
At the school I worked in last year there was a nut-free table in the cafeteria (it was a full-service cafeteria with lunch, whereas the school I work at now just has hot lunch for order with no official cafeteria), however, I have no idea if the cooked lunch contained nuts. They did have peanut butter packets in the cafeteria, I guess you just couldn’t use them at the nut-free table.
My husband and I do not have food allergies, Daughter has none that I am aware of.
My youngest sister is allergic to peas, but the rest of my family has no food allergies.
Grew up in a military family and lived on base, moved quite a bit. We were not rich, but we were not poor either. Had access to good healthcare.
The reality of it is that 33% of people CLAIM to have food allergies, yet only 1.5% of adults have actual true food allergies! (http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/food-allergy-myths http://www.allergenbureau.net/food-allergens/clinical-information-about-food-allergies).
To ansewer your questions, I have food allergies to (I will dies if I eat…) Kiwi and anything related to amoxicillian (bleu cheese, gargonzola….). Since I don’t have children I will throw in that my mother is truly allergic to stawberries, cherries and raspberries. My mother also has a sensitivity to latex, where I have a sever allergy (cannot be in the same room as balloons or I will stop breathing :/)
I have no food allergies, nor does my child. My mother recently (in the last five years) has developed an allergy to shellfish and some fish, but had never previously had a reaction. No one else in my immediate or extended family has any kind of food allergy.
I always wonder about the surge in reported allergies over the last few decades or so. As a child, none of my friends had food allergies, nor did their families (we all ate together fairly regularly). We had no allergy restrictions in place in any of the schools I attended. My daughter has attended two schools so far, both with very strict nut and seed restrictions. I recently was telling this to a friend of mine, who lived the first 15 years of her life in Eastern Europe, and she laughed and said “Seriously, kids don’t have food allergies in my country!” She was shocked when she moved here and discovered so many people have allergies to a number of common foods/ingredients.
I have no known food allergies. I can’t think of any in my immediate family either.
I, too, have been very curious as to why food allergies are suddenly becoming a huge thing when they seemed to be virtually unheard of when I was little.
@Hyperventilate: + 1. We’re way too scared of germs and have to sanitise everything! This weakens our immune systems. We have to be exposed to germs to be able to fight them.
I’m studying a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and you would not believe how many children have allergies. It’s unbelievable. In most of my placement centres there have been children with epi pens, and severe allergies. I think it is because of our fear of germs. Most people HAVE to have hand sanitizer on them at all times, and we treat children in the exact same manner. I’ve seen the stuff in most early childhood centres.
I believe that the food limitations during pregnancy cause allergies too. Pregnant friends of mine have told me about what they’re told not to eat, and I ask them “What ARE you allowed to eat?” Fetuses have to be exposed to allergens in utero for their immune systems to become strengthened, to be able to recognise the allergen, and to be able to fight them. When my mother was pregnant with me she was able to eat anything, (with certain things in moderation) and I turned out fine! The same applies to other people my age, their mothers ate whatever they wanted and their children have no allergies.
There have been a few studies conducted which confront the issues of allergies and make a link between diet restrictions during pregnancy and food allergies.
I also think that some people don’t know the difference between allergies and intolerances. On one of my practicums one little boy wasn’t allowed to eat the following because he was apparently “allergic” : apples, oranges, pears, driet fruit, peanuts, cashews, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, corn thins, marmite (vegemite was fine) store bought fruit cake, fresh pasta, whole egg mayonaise, brocolli, peas, ice cream. It was crazy!!! I’ve also met children who are apparently “allergic” to milk, but can have cheese. These are intolerances, so I don’t take too much notice of them. I will worry about children who have a doctors note, an epi pen, or some medication. Those are allergies.