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Explore this issueAugust/September 2013
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Food allergy is a serious and growing public health issue. Recent data suggest that approximately 15 million Americans have food allergies, including one in every 13 children. Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that food allergies result in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18.
The most serious reaction to a food allergy is anaphylaxis, an exaggerated immune response that can lead to severe rashes, pronounced swelling, particularly of the throat and tongue, and a precipitous drop in blood pressure that can be fatal. Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis.