Why the world is becoming more allergic to food
Around the world, children are more likely than ever to develop food allergies.
"Recent inquiries into the deaths of two British teenagers after eating sesame and peanut highlighted the sometimes tragic consequences. In August, a six-year-old girl in Western Australia died as the result of a dairy allergy," according to BBC news.
An allergy is a condition in which the immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign substance.
These innocent substances become targets, leading to allergic reactions.
Symptoms range from skin redness to hives and swelling. In the most severe cases, the symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.
Some of the most common foods for children to be allergic to are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, and shellfish, according to BBC news.
There is no single explanation for why the world is becoming more allergic to food, but science has some theories.
One theory is that improved hygiene is to blame, as children are not getting as many infections.
Parasitic infections, in particular, are normally fought by the same mechanisms involved in tackling allergies. With fewer parasites to fight, the immune system turns against things that should be harmless, according to BBC news.
Another idea is that vitamin D can help our immune system develop a healthy response to allergies. Many people around the world do not get enough vitamin D for several reasons, including spending less time in the sun.
There is currently no cure for food allergies, and managing the conditions is dependent on avoiding the foods and being on a emergency treatment plan in case of exposure.