Health Department: Food allergies send someone to ER every 3 minutes

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Did you know that a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ER every 3 minutes? That’s why the Eau Claire City-County Health Department encourages you to recognize food allergies as a serious medical condition during Food Allergy Awareness Week.

Food allergies are a life-threatening illness that affects as many as 15 million Americans. Food allergies are now more common in children. One in every 13 children- or around two children in every classroom- has one or more food allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 ambulatory care visits a year involving children less than 18 years of age are due to food allergies.

Eight foods cause the majority of all food allergy reactions in the U.S. They are: shellfish, fish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and wheat. A food allergy reaction can result in anaphylaxis- a severe, whole-body reaction. Symptoms develop quickly, often within seconds or minutes. Symptoms may include: hives, vomiting, trouble breathing, swelling of the throat, a sudden drop in blood pressure, shock and death. While promising therapies are being studied in clinical trials, there is currently no cure for food allergies.

“Too often, people who are not affected by food allergies do not understand how dangerous an allergic reaction can be. Your friends, family, and co-workers with a food allergy can react severely and quickly if they accidentally eat a food that contains or was in contact with an allergen,” says Susan Krahn, Public Health Nutritionist with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, and mother of a child with a food allergy.

Next time someone tells you about their food allergies or the allergies of someone they love, “react with respect.”

To learn more about food allergies, click here.

To help spread the message about the seriousness of food allergies with free resources, click here.