Food Allergies in Children Are Becoming More Common

According torecent  American study  food allergies are becoming more  common ,  especially  among children. About 8 % of those under 18 have developed  an allergy – a total of 6 million children in the USA.

Food allergies occur when our body’s immune system  attacks harmless  food proteins  that it thinks are dangerous. The body  develops chemicals called  histamines . These chemicals can  affect  skin, blood cells, lungs the stomach and even the heart.

The foods that are mostly responsible  for such allergies are cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, nuts and wheat .

But why are food allergies increasing ? Experts give many reasons. One reason is that everything is too clean. Our body does not have the training to fight off attackers . In a world of pasteurized  milk or antibacterial  soap we no longer have the power to fight off  germs and harmful bacteria . Chemicals in our foods have also changed them.  Genetic engineering  has changed most of the food we eat today. Some people are also allergic to additives  in foods and food colouring.



Even though food allergies can affect  everyone, you may be especially at risk  if your parents also have food allergies.  Although  a food allergy can begin at any age most allergies start in childhood . Some allergies go away when you grow up, like milk or egg allergies. Others, like fish or nut allergies are probably with you your whole life.

Many symptoms  are related  to a food allergy. In some cases you feel itching  in your mouth or your lips may swell . When histamines reach the breathing system they may cause asthma .  Allergens  that get into the stomach may cause vomiting  or diarrhoea . Sometimes allergies even lead to unconsciousness  and may threaten  your life.

At least one third of the children affected  are allergic to more than one kind of food. They have problems staying healthy and getting the right diet .

Parents whose children have allergies should always have antihistamine  and epinephrine  with them. These drugs act quickly and let children breathe better.  They work against allergic reactions.




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  • according to   = as said by
  • additive   = something that you put into food to make it taste or  look better
  • affect   = have an effect on
  • allergen   = substance that causes an allergy
  • although   = while
  • antibacterial   = something that kills off bacteria
  • antihistamine   = medicine  that works against allergies
  • asthma   = a condition in which you have trouble breathing
  • at risk   = in danger
  • attack   = hit, try to damage
  • bacteria   = very small living things some of which can cause disease or illness
  • cause   = lead to
  • childhood   = when you are a child
  • common   = widespread
  • develop   = build up, grow
  • diarrhoea   = an illness in which the waste that usually comes out of your body is watery
  • diet   = the kind of food that you normally eat
  • epinephrine   = hormone that makes your heart beat faster; it increases blood pressure and opens up airways in the lungs
  • especially   = above all
  • even though   = while
  • fight off   = fight against, defend yourself
  • genetic engineering   = changing the structure of a plant or animal  in order to make them stronger or healthier
  • germ   = microorganism, bacteria
  • histamine   = a chemical substance that your body produces during an allergic reaction
  • increase   = to go up
  • itch   = to have a bad feeling on your skin ; you want to rub it with your hands or nails
  • occur   = happen
  • pasteurized   = to heat milk and kill off harmful bacteria
  • protein   = natural substances that are in food and which your body needs to grow healthy and strong
  • relate to   = are about
  • recent   = new, fresh
  • responsible   = to blame for
  • stomach   = the organ in our body which digests our food
  • study   = a piece of work that is done to find out more about a subject
  • swell   = to become larger and rounder than normal
  • symptom   = sign that comes up when something is wrong with your body
  • threaten   = endanger
  • unconsciousness   = you are not able to see or hear or move parts of your body  in a normal way
  • vomit   = to bring food or liquid that you have eaten up from your stomach and through your mouth because you are ill
  • wheat   = a grain that bread is made from