HEALTH BEAT 6-1-1998

Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts June 1998 Current Issue
June 1998
AppleShort Cuts:

DO YOU HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY? About a third of Americans think they do. But the real figure is closer to 2 percent, according to Food Insight, a newsletter published by the International Food Information Council Foundation.

A true allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a protein in the food. Symptoms may range from vomiting, diarrhea or rashes to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition that often involves hives, swelling, a choking sensation and possibly shock. If something simply doesn't agree with you, you probably have a food "sensitivity" or "intolerance."

Interestingly, eight foods are responsible for more than 90 percent of serious allergic reactions: peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans and walnuts), dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, fish and shellfish.

Not sure if you're allergic? A board-certified allergist will perform a "double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge." Essentially, he'll make you eat it, and then he'll watch what happens.

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