How to live with food allergies

How to live with food allergies

How to live with food allergies

This is what my primary care physician said when I reported that I had been diagnosed with food allergies to about eight or ten basic foods almost 30 years ago. It is the reaction of many family members, friends, and conventional medical professionals to food allergies .

They refuse to acknowledge that food allergies are real because they can’t deal with them. People with multiple food allergies may also want to react in the same way. They wishfully think, “Ignore the allergies and they might go away.” It’s hard to wrap your mind around the idea of being unable to eat what seems like all food.

However, food allergies (intolerance, sensitivities; click here for more on the semantics of the problem) are very real and usually get worse if left untreated rather than going away. The list of foods one cannot eat tends to grow over time. Continual reactions make it impossible for the sufferer to ignore the problem. The person with multiple food allergies is often left helplessly floundering, trying to solve the problem on his or her own. Because others try to cope with the problem by pretending it doesn’t exist, there is little sympathy. But you are not alone! There are answers, not easy “pop a pill” answers, but answers nonetheless. This website will give you information that can help you.

There is hope and help for people with multiple food allergies. Your list of problem foods is probably not all food, and there are other foods to eat instead in order to keep from starving while you get to the root of your problems. (See “The Problem” menu item at the top of page). There are treatments that actually work, although the ones that work the best involve work that you will need to do. The first step is accurate diagnosis, which involves getting to a doctor who “believes in” food allergies and will not side-step your problems. The most mundane part of the situation, cooking for your allergies, can seem daunting but is also surmountable .

The alternative to solving your food allergy problem may seem like – or may even be – starvation. YOU are the person who must help yourself or your allergic family member.

Enter this website and the resources it will point you to, learn, survive, and live.

How to live with food allergies There is a close relationship between food allergies, inflammation, and overweight. For more about this, see the author’s Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss website.

For more information about any of these books, click on the cover to the left.

The information on this website is derived from these books: The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide, Allergy Cooking with Ease, Gluten-Free Without Rice, Allergy and Celiac Diets With Ease: Money and Time Saving Solutions for Food Allergy and Gluten-free Diets, Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss, I Love Dessert But NOT Sugar, Wheat, Milk, Gluten, Corn, Soy, Unhealthy Fat…, Easy Cooking for Special Diets, Easy Breadmaking for Special Diets, The Low Dose Immunotherapy Handbook, and How to Cope with Food Allergies when You’re Short on Time.

Disclaimer
The information contained in this website is merely intended to communicate material which is helpful and educational to the reader. It is not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment, but rather to provide information and recipes which may be helpful in implementing a diet and program prescribed by your doctor. Please consult your physician for medical advice before changing your diet.

There are no warranties which extend beyond the educational nature of this website. Therefore, we shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person with respect to any loss or damage alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained in this website.

Published on Aug 17, 2020

Food Allergy Center

One family shares its story about how a small, cross-disciplinary clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has had a mighty impact on their son’s quality of life.

How to live with food allergiesWe were referred to CHOP’s Food Allergy Bravery Clinic by our local allergist in Allentown.

After months of debating if the FAB Clinic would be effective for our son Dominic, and worth the drive and time to travel to CHOP, we finally made the decision to attend after Dominic had a panic attack at a local ice cream shop. Someone in front of him had ordered peanut butter ice cream and he was terrified he might accidently be exposed to peanuts – one of his worst allergens.

We knew this was beyond something we could deal with alone. His anxiety had only gotten worse as he got older and better understood the severity of his food allergy. We started attending the weekly FAB Clinic at CHOP in November 2019.

Precautions don’t always work

A month later, we went on a family cruise. We took many precautions to keep Dominic safe during our trip – we called ahead to notify staff of our son’s allergy, we documented his allergy with medical officials on-board, and spoke directly to wait staff each day.

Despite all of this, Dominic had his first anaphylaxis reaction onboard — the day before his 9th birthday. When hives suddenly appeared all over his body, we knew to give Dominic his EpiPen and Benadryl to calm his body’s reaction immediately; then rushed him to the ship’s medical station to be monitored until he recovered.

When we returned home, we continued with Dominic’s care plan created by the FAB Clinic. Though still scared from his recent anaphylactic reaction, Dominic continued to follow the practices his clinical team prescribed, complete the daily Bravery Challenges and utilize the coping skills he’d learned at CHOP.

New tools to fight food allergies – and panic

Dominic learned how to keep himself safer: washing his hands before and after eating, avoiding cross-contamination from serving utensils, and learning how to approach food workers in public to ask if any foods included peanuts.

And if something with peanuts accidently touched him? Dominic learned not to panic; instead to wash the area thoroughly, inform his parents or teachers of the exposure and remain calm if any minor skin reactions did occur.

Setting goals

Throughout treatment, our family worked with Dominic and the FAB Clinic team to set regular and ongoing goals. One of Dominic’s goals was to be able to safely and confidently eat lunch with his friends at school — at the non-food allergy lunch table. While the COVID-19 school shutdown prevented him from doing this in the Spring, he has been practicing at home with his three siblings. They’ll all eat peanut butter sandwiches, and he’ll have ham and cheese – all at the same table. He’s been doing great!

How to live with food allergiesOne method to help reduce Dominic’s worries is exposure to peanuts through intact skin. After exposed, he washed his hands with soap and water to safely remove the allergen. Our long-term treatment goals remain the same: for Dominic to be able to live a more normal life, to know how to safely navigate his food allergies, and to better manage his food-related anxiety and related mental health issues. We want him to have the tools necessary to understand his anxiety, how to manage it, and how to live safely with his life-threatening allergy.

Without the FAB Clinic, I do not think Dominic would be as confident as he is today. Not only did it help lessen his allergy-related anxiety, but he has practiced tools of anxiety management that can be applied to many aspects of his life.

Dominic’s therapy with the FAB Clinic is now complete, and we no longer come to CHOP weekly for appointments with the FAB Clinic team. However, our relationship with CHOP is far from over – these clinicians have become part of our family! Dominic will continue to be followed by CHOP Allergy as he gains skill and confidence to manage his food allergies as he gets older. And I can always call if I have questions.

So much has changed in the past year for Dominic. No longer is he a timid, fearful and anxious child waiting for his next allergic reaction. Today, he is more confident and relaxed. He asks questions of people making his food, has tools to deal with any accidental exposures that may occur, and feels more comfortable knowing we are all looking out for him too.

Welcome to AllergicChild!

With over 20 years of experience of dealing with all aspects of food allergies, we are your premier resource for managing food allergies. We truly understand what it takes to live with food allergies and how it affects everyday life. We understand the challenges of being with family, in school, and in all aspects of life. We can help your child be included and stay safe with food allergies.

How to live with food allergiesOur founder, Nicole Smith, started AllergicChild with one goal in mind: Help children live a full life with food allergies. We provide an active blog with posts that contain helpful tips and stories for you and your child. We have multiple articles about allergies that provide both the latest medical research and experience-based suggestions. The information contained within this site is a knowledge base accumulated over 20 years of managing food allergies in school, travel, family, friends, and places of worship.

You can find information about food allergies on the web- medical facts, case studies, and perhaps even an impersonal story. However, you cannot find anywhere else on the Internet the same kind of knowledge you find here. We don’t just talk to people who live with food allergies: we live with food allergies. We don’t listen to stories or watch a video about food allergies: we deal with them in everyday life, whether it be in school or travel. We understand that there is an emotional side to food allergies: it isn’t an easy path, but we are here to help you manage it.

Now, we don’t keep this knowledge to ourselves. All of the experience and stories are within this site. We also created books and other products to help you educate others about food allergies.

We wrote and published children’s books about peanut allergies, milk allergies, and nut allergies. Allie the Allergic Elephant, Cody the Allergic Cow, and Chad the Allergic Chipmunk have been purchased in all settings: schools, hospitals, families, and even in religious institutions. Click here to view our children’s books.

Please, explore our site and discover the knowledge you need to help your child stay safe. Click here for the page that has all the information about peanut allergies or click here for the blog post that discusses the emotional aspects of food allergies on marriage.

AllergicChild is here to help you.How to live with food allergies

We offer a blog that provides excellent articles about school, growing up, fitting in, and even research studies about curing food allergies. Our son, Morgan, and our inspiration for AllergicChild, posts occasionally about his experiences in which he explains what life is like with food allergies. He discusses first-hand experience with bullies, traveling, food, and managing fitting in with peers.

Serve up a more enjoyable, accommodating dining experience.

How to live with food allergies

This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. Contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.

Food allergies are one of the most pressing issues for restaurants today. FARE reports that allergies affect an estimated 32 million Americans today and that number is only increasing. Between 1997 and 2011, the CDC discovered that the number of children living with food allergies had increased by a whopping 50 percent.

An allergic reaction to food is triggered by the body’s immune system. The most common allergens for adults are fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, while the most problematic foods for children are oftentimes eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

Healthline reports that symptoms can appear within a few minutes to a few hours after ingesting an allergen, with symptoms including swelling of the tongue, mouth or face, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, hives, or an itchy rash. In the most severe cases, a food allergy can cause a guest to go into anaphylaxis.

IMPORTANT: If a guest at your restaurant is exhibiting the signs of a food allergy, call 9-1-1 immediately. The FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) organization has an emergency protocol plan online that can be kept at your restaurant.

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Guide to the Restaurant Guest

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Food Scientist and Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS), Janilyn Hutchings, had some ideas to share around ways restaurants can keep guests dining with food allergies safe during the duration of their visit. Hutchings currently works for StateFoodSafety as an in-house food safety specialist and food safety education writer.

A StateFoodSafety employee with a pistachio allergy once said to Hutchings, “Ever since learning of my food allergy, I’ve had to be that person who always asks ‘Are there nuts in this?’ I’ve run the gamut of responses to that question. Food workers have been kind, rude, confused, unsure, dismissive, and accommodating.”

For many diners living with food allergies, the idea of eating out can be terrifying. A meal that would be perfectly safe for one guest could be life-threatening for another. It’s important for restaurant staff to treat guests living with food allergies with patience and respect.

Many restaurants have risen to the task and have taken steps to educate and train their employees in property allergy protocol, but as a whole, there is much more that can be done to protect restaurant guests dining with food allergies.

Here are some tips Hutchings has for restaurants looking to improve their food allergy response plan.

4 Ways to Make Guests Living with Food Allergies At Your Restaurant Feel At Home

Require all staff members to be allergen-trained and learn the most common food allergies

According to The FDA, the 8 major food allergens are:

Though these triggers are responsible for the majority of food-related allergic reactions, some restaurant guests may also be living with chronic gastrointestinal or food-related intolerances such as Celiac’s disease, which is responsible for gluten-sensitivity. Food intolerance is different than a food allergy because they don’t involve the diner’s immune system, but servers should be equally aware of both and the signs a guest may exhibit when an allergen is present in their meal.

Train your servers to take every guest report of a food allergy seriously StateFoodSafety has an accredited food safety course that your guests can take to ensure they have the proper knowledge to protect your guests.

“Luckily, my experiences with employees being rude or dismissive have been few and far between; however, a majority of my experiences have been with employees that are unsure or even confused by what I’m asking them,” the StateFoodSafety employee said.

Prevent cross-contact in order to protect your guests and your restaurant

Cross-contact or cross-contamination – when a guest’s food becomes inadvertently contaminated with an allergen by coming in contact with another food item that contains said allergen – can have serious consequences for your restaurant. Even if the food is cooked it does not prevent the guest from eating it from having an allergic reaction.

Train your servers to be vigilant about reporting any guest dining with food allergies to your kitchen staff, who can then in term prevent cross-contamination while the food is being prepared. Communication between your team members is key to preventing cross-contact. Oftentimes, servers and bar staff are able to memo the kitchen directly using the restaurant’s point of sale system, a feature that comes in handy when the need to communicate guest allergies arises.

“I once attempted to order at an ice cream parlor that had a policy in place that they did not change gloves or clean their ice cream scoops for anyone with a food allergy. This was jarring to hear—so I spoke to a manager that had the same dismissive attitude and confirmed that they would not do anything to make eating at their establishment safer for those with allergies,” said one StateFoodSafety employee to Hutchings about the treatment she’s received while dining with a pistachio allergy.. “Even if your establishment doesn’t provide an allergen-free menu, train your employees to handle customers’ food allergies with care and respect.”

Affiliations

  • 1 Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2 Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Region Stockholm, Solnavägen 4, 113 65 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 3 Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 4 Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3A 1S1, Canada.
  • 5 George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T6, Canada.
  • 6 The Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 3P4, Canada.
  • 7 The Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 8 Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • PMID: 34371866
  • DOI: 10.3390/nu13072357
  • Search in PubMed
  • Search in NLM Catalog
  • Add to Search

Authors

Affiliations

  • 1 Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2 Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Region Stockholm, Solnavägen 4, 113 65 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 3 Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 4 Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3A 1S1, Canada.
  • 5 George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T6, Canada.
  • 6 The Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 3P4, Canada.
  • 7 The Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 8 Sachs’ Children and Youth Hospital, 118 83 Stockholm, Sweden.
  • PMID: 34371866
  • DOI: 10.3390/nu13072357

Abstract

Food hypersensitivity (FHS) refers to food-related symptoms, with or without concurrent Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies related to food(s). It remains unclear how different FHS phenotypes affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We examined self-reported HRQoL (with the generic instrument EQ-5D (dimensions and a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), range 0-100) in association with phenotypes of FHS, and food-specific symptoms among adolescents (n = 2990) from a population-based birth cohort. Overall, 22% of the adolescents had FHS. Compared to adolescents without FHS, those with FHS reported more problems in the dimensions of pain/discomfort (p Keywords: IgE sensitization; adolescence; allergic comorbidity; food allergy; food hypersensitivity; health-related quality of life.

A small guide to help people who are confronted with food allergies. How to change the food habits to make things easier for the whole family.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hidden Products

Now it is getting easier to find out, what kind of ingredients are in food, thanks to the labelling of the food packages.

But with some things one still needs to be carefull, as they are mentioned under a different name.

The major problem concerning this is dairy products.

milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt etc are easy to recognize, because we see or hear these words on a daily base.

But what about lactose?
Lately many people have trouble with lactose. It can cause severe digestive problems.
Because of the large number of people who have this problem, the industry answered fairly quickly with a wide range of lactose free products. You will find them often in normal supermarkets next to normal dairy products.

Ever heard of whey?
Whey is the watery part of milk, the water that you see in yoghurt when it is left for a few days.
Sometimes it is part of the ingredients, so be aware, it is part of milk and may cause an allergic reaction.

Many margerines made of vegetable oils still contain a certain amount of milk or buttermilk, to give you the buttery taste.

And beware of bread!! Did you ever look up the recipes of all of those tasty breads, especially the sweet white ones?
Most contain butter and/or milk.

And as an allergy to dairy mostly also means an allergy to egg, most of the cakes and cookies are out as well.

Does that mean you or your child can never again have a piece of cake without suffering?

No, but in most cases it means you will have to make it yourself, as most bakeries do not offer a range of allergene free cakes or cookies.

I have a food allergy – what can I do?

One major problem for people who are told they or their children have a food allergy is that they don’t know how to change their food habits easily.

As long as it is a fruit it is simple – just avoid the fruit.

But what about a basic product like dairy or eggs, even worse a gluten allergy.

Most people have no idea where to find information and I want to create a site, where people can ask and get answers, hints and maybe a feeling that they are not alone.

Today many people have all kinds of allergies, their number is sadly rising, and it has become big business to help these people out.

I myself have for many years now lived a life of an ovo-lacto vegetarian(someone who doesn’t eat meat or seafood/fish, but can eat milk products and eggs) and about 6 months ago I became allergic to dairy productsand eggs.

I had most of my protein intake from those two, so I felt really troubled. All my life people had told me not to become a vegan, a real 100% vegetarian, a complete herbivore. The diet is very difficult to balance and one was bound to have deficits in one’s diet.

Well, I managed the change, and my family is not the worse for it, although they live with a vegan.

Even as a vegetarian, I never wanted to force my family to follow into my steps just because I am the one cooking most of the time. So we developed a way to satisfy everyone: My husband or I cook several dishes that contain or do not contain the food someone is allergic to or simply doesn’t like.

Normally we have a salad, one meat or fish dish, maybe 2 different kinds of vegetables and a staple food. It may sound a lot of work, but isn’t. It has also the advantage that you can mix food styles, for example western and eastern.

Why is that an advantage, you may ask.

Simple, if you and your partner come from a different cultural background. You both will want to have ‘your ‘ food at the same time.

My husband is Japanese and I am German. So I tend to eat a lot more heavy than my husband.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Japanese food. It just never seems to keep in my stomach for a long time. I get hungry after an hour or two.

My husband on the other side has difficulties with the heavier western food and suffers from indigestion. So we compromised by having some light East Asian dishes as well as one heavier dish for me and whoever wants to join me.

In this Article

  • Always Be Prepared With Food Allergies
  • Beware of Hidden Trigger Foods

Always Be Prepared With Food Allergies

  • If you or a loved one has a food allergy, be prepared for an emergency. If you have severe food allergies and have medication to prevent anaphylaxis, carry your medicine (generally an epinephrine auto-injector) at all times in case you accidentally eat a trigger food. If you have an anaphylactic reaction, inject yourself immediately. Even if it you are not sure if it is a true reaction, the medication won’t harm you. Be sure someone knows to take you to the emergency room.
  • An organization called “The Food Allergy Initiative” advises people with food allergies to carry a card that lists the foods to which they are allergic. The card can be given to the chef, manager, or server prior to ordering food at a restaurant.

Beware of Hidden Trigger Foods

Foods that trigger allergies can be found in the most unlikely foods, so keep the following points in mind.

  • The same deli meat slicer used to cut meats is likely used to cut cheese products, too. When this is done, small particles of cheese can be transferred to sliced meats.
  • To add flavor, some restaurants melt butter on steaks after they have been grilled.
  • Casein, a milk protein, is sometimes used in canned meats.
  • Eggs are sometimes used to create the foam topping on specialty coffee drinks.
  • Some ethnic dishes, such as African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese foods, contain peanuts or are prepared in areas near peanuts.
  • Some beanbags and hacky sacks are filled with crushed nutshells.
  • Some labels use the term “may contain” to indicate the possible, but unintentional, presence of foodВ allergens in their products.

Sources

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.В
The Food Allergy Initiative.

Six-year-old Xaviar Peterson is severely allergic to a wide range of food. See how he and his mom deal with the day-to-day challenges.

When Food Can Kill You: Coping With Severe Food Allergies

What do peanuts, shrimp, and eggs, have in common?—On the surface, nothing much. But all of the above, it turns out, are common causes of food allergies. About 15 million Americans are allergic to food, with miserable symptoms that range from hives and rashes to runny noses, dripping eyes, coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, and even the very worst case scenario—anaphylaxis and death.

About 90 percent of these allergies are reactions to just eight foods. The chief culprits are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. One out of every 13 kids has a food allergy—an average of two per classroom nationwide. Many grow out of their milk, egg, and soy allergies, which are often history by the time they’re teenagers, but the three million who are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts are generally stuck with the condition for life.

Allergies are the result of a normal human system run amok. All are hyperimmune responses, in which the body’s immune system—which functions to protect us from disease— suddenly begins to respond, often dramatically, to substances that it ordinarily should ignore. The body’s adverse reaction to an allergen begins with the release of an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE), which in turn triggers the release of histamine, a tiny molecule with a large range of effects. At the annoying end of the scale, these include itching, redness, and swelling. At the dangerous end, blood vessel dilation can lead to a precipitous drop in blood pressure, difficulty in breathing, and anaphylactic shock. The severely allergic defend against this by carrying injectable epinephrine.

We know how allergic reactions work and we know their proximate causes, but why do allergies develop in the first place? And why are they on the rise?

Figures vary, but scientists agree that the trend for allergies in developed countries is steadily up. One often-cited study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, showed an 18 percent increase in food allergies in children between 1997 and 2007; another, released in 2013, cited a 50 percent increase as of 2011.

“Developed countries” may be the key term here. Though most scientists agree that allergies are likely the result of complex interactions between genes and the environment, a common explanation for the current storm of sensitivities is the hygiene hypothesis, which argues that in many places, life has become too clean. A combination of sanitation, modern medicine with its battery of bug-killing antibiotics, and an increasingly dirt-free indoor lifestyle has caused us to lose a lot of beneficial microbes that evolutionarily have beefed up our immune systems and ensured the health of the epithelium of the digestive tract. When the epithelium gets weak and leaky, bacteria and bacterial byproducts can escape their natural home in the gut and enter the bloodstream, leading to inflammation and contributing to a host of chronic diseases, among them allergies and asthma. (See What’s Up With the Bacteria in Your Gut?)

A related factor in the rise of allergies may be the increasing incidence of birth by Caesarean section. An estimated 4.5 percent of babies were born by C-section in 1965; today it’s over 30 percent. C-section babies are up to five times more likely to develop allergies than those delivered naturally—possibly because C-section kids miss out on the helpful gut bacteria ordinarily acquired during unsterile passage through the birth canal.

Then there’s the question of genes. Studies with identical twins who share the same complement of genes and fraternal twins who don’t indicate that heredity plays a sizeable role in allergies. One report showed that about 65 percent of identical twins shared peanut allergies, as opposed to just 7 percent of fraternal twins. Just which gene or genes contribute to allergies remains a mystery, though some evidence points to mutations in the gene BACH2 – named for the composer – that appears to play a role in allergies and autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and Type I diabetes. Another possible contributor is the gene that codes for a growth factor called TGF-beta, mutations in which lead to the chain reaction of events that results in allergies.

Gene-wise, there’s also a chance that our modern plague of allergies may be at least partially the fault of the Neanderthals. Today, the DNA of all non-Africans contains 1 to 6 percent Neanderthal genes, the legacy of hot interspecies sex that took place some 40,000 years ago. Three distinctive genes are among our most common Neanderthal leftovers and all have to do with the immune system. We’ve held on to these for so long because they confer an evolutionary advantage, helping to protect us from pathogens. But scientists believe that they just may do their job too well, leading to hyperactive immune responses and predisposing their carriers to allergies.

Despite some public allegations, there’s no scientific evidence that vaccines cause allergies, though physicians caution that children with existing food allergies may have adverse reactions to food-related compounds such as egg proteins in certain childhood vaccines. Similarly, despite consumer concerns, GMO foods are off the hook, allergy-wise. Scientists point out that GMO foods, which are heavily tested, actually have less allergenic potential than new conventional foods, which may contain hundreds of new food proteins. Genetic modification may even eventually provide help for allergy sufferers. Work is underway, for example, to develop a safer hypoallergenic peanut.

Clearly, when it comes to allergies, there’s more research to be done. In the meantime, the best approach for those with allergies is caution.