Eleven Million Americans Suffer From Food Allergies and Numbers are Climbing; More Children With Multiple Allergies Than Ever Before and Peanut
Allergies Doubled Between 1997 and 2002 Doctors Targeting Immune Systems of Children, Hoping to Keep Allergy From
Developing; 'We're Desperate' for a Solution, Says Doc
NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Today about 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies, and many scientists agree the numbers are climbing. As Senior Writer Claudia Kalb reports in the current issue of Newsweek, peanut allergies-among the most dire-doubled between 1997 and 2002 in children under 5 years old. "Clearly, the number has increased in the younger population," says Dr. Hugh Sampson, a food-allergy pioneer at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in N.Y. "We suspect that [in the future], the numbers in general are going to increase." Allergists say they're now seeing more children with multiple allergies than ever before, not just to 1950s staples such as milk and wheat -- but to global foods we have adopted since, like sesame and kiwi. And allergies many kids outgrow -- like those to eggs-seem to be lingering longer than they did in the past
Kalb looks at why allergies appear to be on the rise. One of the most
intriguing theories, dubbed the "hygiene hypothesis," is that we've all
become too clean. The immune system is designed to battle dangerous foreign
invaders like parasites and viruses and infections. But clean water,
antibiotics and vaccines have eliminated some of our most toxic challenges.
Intriguing research even posits that kids born by Caesarean section, which
have risen 40 percent in the last decade, could be at higher risk for
allergies, perhaps because their bodies are never exposed to the healthy
bacteria in their mothers' birth canal
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