Martha Jefferson Healthwise--May 23rd

Dr. Gary Rakes treats food allergies and says a food allergy is where the body mistakenly believes a certain food is harmful. About 8% adults and 2% of children have food allergies. Common food allergies are peanut, tree nuts, egg, cow's milk, fish, shellfish, soybean and wheat. Nut allergies are most common and most harmful. We have to be very careful because nuts can find themselves into many recipes.

The best way to prevent food allergies is to exactly pinpoint what foods you are allergic to. This can be accomplished by taking a simple blood test. Once we find out what foods we are allergic to, it is a matter of reading labels on all foods. By law food producers have to label food allergy ingredients. If you don't have a label or do not know what is in the food, the best practice is to avoid it altogether.

The best treatment for major reactions is a self-injection of adrenaline or epinephrine, and really knowing how to use it. Minor itching and rashes can be treated with Benadryl or something like it.

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