Food allergies are on the rise

Kalani Williams, Staff Writer

When senior Deyliana Lewis touched peanut butter and rubbed her face, her face immediately began to swell. Lewis, unaware she was having an allergic reaction, began to panic as she felt her face and throat swelling. Since then, Lewis does not eat any foods that contain peanut or peanut oil. Although many people tend to grow out of food allergies as they grow older, recent studies have found that the number of teens and adults who are developing food allergies is rising.
Food allergies are common. Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) reports 5.6 million teens under the age of 18 have experienced food allergies. Those who suffer severe reactions to these products require the use of an EpiPen which is a device used to treat very serious allergic reactions to insect stings/bites, foods, drugs and other substances.The most common allergens are wheat, peanut, eggs, milk, nut, soybean (soy), fish and shellfish.
“I loved to eat peanut butter but grew out of it,” Lewis said. “A couple years later, I accidentally touched it and touched my face, and my face swelled up. That’s when I first found out that I was allergic to peanuts.”
Most allergies develop in childhood and occur because the immune system overreacts to a food or a substance found in the food. Some allergies can lessen or even disappear overtime.
The reason teens and adults develop allergies later in life is still unknown. According to Mayo Clinic, allergies most commonly develop in childhood, but they can also develop at any time in a person’s life. Although unusual, a person can go from eating foods they’ve eaten all their lives to having an allergic reaction with no warning and no idea of what to do.
These allergic reactions send the immune system into a state of emergency. They also extend themselves beyond being unable to breathe; other side effects include hives, facial swelling and digestive issues.
“I mainly figured it out on my own, what I should and should not eat,” Lewis said.
Lewis knew the cause of her allergy and began to take immediate action to prevent any further allergic reactions.
In some cases, since adults didn’t grow up with the allergy, they are unsure what they can and cannot eat.
When it comes to social events, people with food allergies often have to be extremely mindful of not only what they eat, but what their friends or others around them eat in some cases even being around the food can cause severe allergic reactions.