How familiar are you with food allergies?
Do you know the difference between an intolerance and an allergy? Learn more about this increasingly common problem that’s not to be taken lightly!
First, it’s important to know that an intolerance is not life threatening, but it can certainly negatively impact a person’s quality of life. In contrast, an allergy is a hypersensitivity of the immune system to a specific food protein, which can lead to severe reactions and sometimes even death.
Did you know?
- It’s possible to be allergic to any type of food. However, 90% of food allergies are caused by just 10 foods.
- In Canada: the 10 priority food allergens are:
→ eggs → milk → wheat → peanuts
→ mustard → nuts → seafood → sulphites
→ sesame → soyApproximately two out of every 100 children in Canada have peanut allergies.
Près de 300 000 enfants de moins de 18 ans souffrent d’une allergie alimentaire au Canada.
- Plus de 40 % des Canadiens lisent les étiquettes des aliments à la recherche de renseignements sur les allergènes.
- Il est impossible de guérir les allergies alimentaires.
- Une personne peut mourir en cas de choc anaphylactique à un allergène si des mesures ne sont pas prises à temps.
Main symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- Tingling sensation in the mouth
- Swelling of the eyes, lips, throat and/or tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin rash
- Drop in blood pressure
- Diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting
- Hives (red patches on skin)
- Loss of consciousness
FAQ about allergies/food allergens
What is an anaphylactic shock?
Anaphylactic shock, also called allergic shock, is a violent allergic reaction producing a severe bloodstream disruption resulting in a state of shock and a sudden drop in blood pressure that can jeopardize vital organs like the heart and the brain.
Can you have an allergic reaction without actually ingesting the allergen?
Yes. Some people can have a reaction simply by inhaling peanut particles suspended in the air or the steam of cooking fish. However, food odours alone cannot trigger an anaphylactic reaction because they do not contain any proteins.
How much of an allergen is needed to trigger a reaction?
Even microscopic amounts of an allergen “hidden” inside a processed food product or traces an allergen transferred from a serving utensil can potentially cause a severe allergic reaction and even be fatal.
Can a person with food allergies have an allergic reaction after kissing someone who has eaten the allergen?
Yes. This type of accidental exposure is possible, since small amounts of the allergen can be transferred from one person to another through a kiss.
Who is most at risk of suffering food allergies?
80% of children have a high risk of developing an allergy when both parents also have allergies. This likelihood drops to 30% when only one parent has allergies and to 13% if there is no family history of allergies.