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Nut Allergies: Being Prepared Could Save Your Life

Food Allergies and Food Sensitivities – Be Aware of Nut Allergies and Save a Life
More and more Americans are either sensitive to, or allergic to, tree nuts, peanuts, and nut-related food products such as almond milk and nut butters. As many as 15 million Americans today are living with food-related allergies. About 3 million of these, or one-fifth of all allergies, are peanut and tree nut allergies. Normally developed in childhood, peanut and tree nut allergies are lifelong concerns. Children living with these types of allergies in the U.S. have tripled in number over the past ten years. Beginning at any age, food sensitivities and allergies affect children and adults from all ethnicities. Many health insurance companies need to know if you are living with a food allergy. Be sure to ask for a quote today, and read on to understand more about this growing concern.

The Dangers of Nut Allergies
We all know someone with food allergies, but did you know that:

•    A food-related reaction sends an American to the ER every THREE minutes – that’s 200,000 plus emergency visits every year.
•    90% of all reactions are caused by sesame, shellfish and fish, eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts, and soy.
•    Food-related reactions can be deadly (such as anaphylactic shock, a state where the victim may stop breathing) or mild and bothersome (such as an irritated mouth or hives).
•    If a parent suffers from any type of allergic reaction or syndrome (asthma, eczema, food allergies, or hay fever), their children are at greater risk.
•    Children with food sensitivities and allergies are twice as likely to have other conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared with their non-allergic peers.
•    Food sensitivities and allergies can trigger other allergic conditions, such as GERD (gastrointestinal-esophageal reflux disorder) and dermatitis.

How to Prevent a Reaction

Look out for hidden ingredients

Many food products are processed in facilities that also processes peanuts and tree nuts. Be sure to check the label before you buy!

Limit eating out
Restaurants carry more nutrition information on their menus these days, but how can you guarantee that they aren’t contaminated by allergens? The simple answer is, you cannot. Your best bet is to eat at home, or, if you must eat out, bring a home-prepared meal for the food-sensitive person.

Carry an epi-pen with you
It is critical to carry an epi-pen with you if your child suffers from food allergies, or if you work with children. You might just need to use it and you’ll be thankful you had one on hand if so!

The Cure?
The good news is that a child is much more likely to eventually outgrow the allergy if his or her first reaction occurred at a young age. While there is no cure for food-related allergies, avoiding allergenic foods and early management of allergic reactions to food are vital to preventing a serious reaction. About one quarter of kids eventually outgrow their allergies, at around the age of 5. Children who are allergic to soy, eggs, or milk are most likely to outgrow their allergies. It is much more unlikely for kids to outgrow shellfish, tree nut, and peanut allergies.

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