Food Allergies: Children vs. Adults
Registered dietitian Jessica Butcher runs down the differences between childhood allergies and adult allergies.
Host, Gerry Barnaby - Hey, what’s happenin’, Barnaby here. Another HelloLife Moment. This one having to do with allergies, because, did you know, when it comes to food allergies, it’s a little different sometimes with kids versus adults. Joining us now to bear down on that point would be Registered Dietician, Jessica Butcher. So, let’s talk about kids first and allergies.
Health Coach, Jessica Butcher, RD – Now there certainly are some allergies that are more common in kids. That would be like your, well, obviously, the most severe in kids would be your peanuts and your tree nuts. But certainly in kids we see a lot more of the milk allergies, the soy, the wheat, the egg. And a lot of those – outside of the tree nuts and peanuts, the rest of those four, kids normally grow out of those. So you don’t see them very often in adults, although it’s possible. It’s just less common.
Barnaby – Alrightie. And so because they might be prone to allergic reaction with foods, thankfully there has been legislation that has been put in place to protect the kids in schools. How do we best describe that?
Jessica – That 504 Plan, which we did talk about in another segment – so I encourage you to take a look at that if you do have an allergic child being sent off to school. But, with children, it’s really important to educate your children and let them know about their food allergy. And, if they know what to be looking out for, and maybe they become familiar and they always know certain brands they cannot have or certain brands that are safe for them or if they know they can’t have a peanut butter sandwich and that they maybe need a sunflower butter sandwich instead. Then there’s – if you help to educate them, then they’re going to know whether you’re there to protect them or not.
Barnaby – Ok, so let’s now talk about the adults. Do they suffer from allergies that just won’t go away?
Jessica – They certainly can. And especially with those, well, tree nuts and peanuts, I mean, those are life-long allergies. Kids don’t tend to grow out of those, so they are going to still be very prevalent with an adult. But the two most common allergies with adults are your fish and shellfish. And shellfish are the most – the very most common. So it affects up to two percent of Americans adults and only .01 percent of children. So that certainly is a drastic difference there. But those are the two – but of course, not too many kids eat fish and shellfish, so you can see maybe why that might be a little bit more common in adults. But there are certainly differences there. And you know, adults still can have milk allergies, or soy allergies or egg, but they are just far less common.
Barnaby – I think one of the big differences here is, in the 504 world, the kids are fairly protected through much of their day at school whereas adults? It’s just a free-for-all out there! I mean you have to be ever vigilant if you’ve got food allergies.
Jessica – You certainly do. And if you’re eating out especially, you need to ask a lot of questions to find out exactly what your food is being prepared with. Because, let’s say you have a tree nut allergy and you want to order a salad that has walnuts on it. You know, they might be back there, they might, ‘oh there’s an allergy out there.’ They might just try to pick off those walnuts. But, even those trace amounts left in the salad could still cause that severe reaction. So it’s so important to make sure that you can trust the people in the back of the house at that restaurant and talk with them and truly express how severe that food allergy is to make sure they’re taking all the extra precaution necessary.
Barnaby – Well, and as you expressed in an earlier segment, it takes only one fiftieth (1/50th) of a peanut – one fiftieth! To really throw you into anaphylactic shock if you are food allergic to peanuts. So, it’s just a wild and wooly world out there. But, all the good information as always on our website. It is HelloLife.net. We have covered allergies from soup to nuts. Can’t be allergic to soup, necessarily, unless there’s soy in there – but that’s a whole ‘nother thing. You gotta dive deep in the videos at HelloLife.net because we’ve covered it all effectively for your edification. Just another HelloLife Moment because we’re all about matching your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.