Food Allergy Essay

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Food Allergy Food Allergy Everyone eats to survive, and most people enjoy eating. However, recent studies have found that about 4% of the U.S. population and about 4-6% of children are 2 allergic to at least one food (3). Other studies indicate that food allergies are increasing in prevalence and as a result, more and more people are becoming aware of food allergy, making it a subject of increasing public concern. When one person in a family has a food allergy, the whole family is affected. There may be day-to-day anxiety that a loved one may accidentally eat a food that could lead to anaphylaxis, a dangerous allergic reaction. Food allergy is a growing problem, and therefore it is important to keep the public aware of allergic reactions and their possible causes, symptoms, treatments and knowing how to minimize the risk of having an allergic reaction that has the possibility of being lifethreatening. The role of the immune system is to protect the body from bacteria, viruses and toxins and normally this is what the immune system does in every individual. In some people, the immune system responds to environmental antigens that cause inflammation and damage to the body itself. This formally is called an allergy. Antigens that cause allergy are called allergens, and some examples are ragweed pollen, poison ivy and can be certain food proteins (9). In the case of food allergy, the allergen is the food protein that causes an exaggerated immune response. To develop a particular food allergy, the person must first be exposed to the allergen or food protein. This initial exposure causes sensitization and it is the subsequent exposures that elicit the damaging immune responses that is recognized as the disease. There is some diversity in allergic responses depending on the immunological effector pathways elicited (6). Delayed hypersensitivity,

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