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The 6 Most Dangerous Food Allergies That Everyone Should Know About

Every three minutes, someone in the United States is sent to an emergency room because of a food allergy reaction. The US Centers for Disease Control estimates that 300,000 ER visits per year are caused by allergic reactions in children alone. In many cases, these allergies end up being little more than a bother — they can cause temporary symptoms such as swelling, hives, coughing, or vomiting, but they are not life-threatening. Nonetheless, there are many cases in which food allergies do cause a severe enough reaction to cause discapacity or death. Roughly 200 people per year pass away in the US due to allergic reactions to food.

The good news is that severe allergic reactions are almost always caused by the same few groups of food. Roughly half of all severe allergic reactions in the United States are caused by peanut allergies — and roughly 90% of all severe allergic reactions in the US are caused by the top 6 most “dangerous” foods. Here is a quick run down of the foods that cause the most frequent (not to mention the most dangerous) allergic reactions.

  1. Nut Allergies. As we mentioned above, peanuts are the most frequent offenders, but a range of other severe allergies are also observed from time to time, most commonly in tree nuts such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazil nuts, and pine nuts.
  2. Milk and Dairy reactions. Severe reactions to dairy products occur most frequently in children. Children may not recognize or understand exactly what an allergic reaction to food is, so it is important to be alert should your child begin making complaints related to the mouth or throat after trying a new food.
  3. Fish and Shellfish. Unlike allergic reactions milk and dairy, fish and shellfish allergies tend to manifest much more commonly in adults. It is worth noting that finned-fish and shellfish do not form a part of the same allergy family — so an allergy to crab wouldn’t necessarily mean that you can’t eat trout, for example.
  4. An allergy to eggs can manifest itself at any age, and it is important to take note of this because eggs are found in many foods that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Here is an informative (although still not entirely complete) list of foods to beware of if you suspect an egg allergy.
  5. Like eggs, soy is found in a surprising variety of foods; which is precisely what makes soy allergies so potentially dangerous. Be sure to check the ingredients of all homemade food ingredients, and ask in restaurants before eating out if food could contain or have come into contact with foods containing soy.
  6. Wheat and other grains. Last but certainly not least, wheat and other grains containing gluten can be the cause of gluten-related allergies. The most common gluten allergy is celiac disease, which can cause allergic reactions even if exposure is limited to trace amounts of gluten. Other, less common allergies include gluten-sensitivity, which may still allow for very small amounts of gluten to be consumed. Of course, caution should be exercised regardless.


Recognizing and understanding food allergies and sensitivities is an important component of functional medicine. If you are interested in discovering and treating the root causes of your medical issues, we recommend that you visit Harbor Health online today!

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