A recent study indicates one in twelve children in America have some sort of food allergy. Dr., Fredrick Leickly with the IU School of Medicine, says food allergies are the number one diagnosis of the children he sees in his practice. Leickly says the number of food allergy cases are increasing each year and he‘s not sure of the reason.
“It‘s creeping up,” he said. “There is more food allergy and it begs a couple questions – there‘s more diagnostics that are being used and there‘s more awareness of it, too”
There are two working theories among allergists as to why food allergies are so common. Dr. Leickly says one theory is that our society is too clean and immune systems are not being stimulated to work properly. He says others believe that by withholding certain foods, like eggs, milk, and nuts from babies, they aren‘t able to develop a tolerance to those foods.
“Our immune system needs to be stimulated to work properly,” he said, “and if we stimulate it in one direction maybe we don‘t develop allergy. It‘s called the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ that‘s been out there.”
Dr. Leickly says food allergies that can cause life-threatening reactions are also more common than people realize. Peanuts are the number one culprit for such violent reactions.