Allergic to certain foods? Add milk to that


Since her son Matt was a baby, Lynda Mitchell knew that she had a milk allergy.

Control the symptoms by changing the formula of your baby. But when I was 1, Halloween turned out horrible. While dressed in a pumpkin costume, Matt grabbed a chocolate bar and bit into the wrapper. Although he spat the candy, his violent allergic reaction turned into a mess of hives, swelling and difficulty breathing. He ended up in the emergency room.

That was 26 years ago, but Mitchell vividly remembers the fear of that night, and of raising a child with a condition for which there was little information.

"It was really a time of terror to have a child with a food allergy," he said.

To this day, Matt is extremely careful with his diet. Take an EpiPen to thwart a severe attack if you inadvertently eat a dairy product.

Danger of milk allergies

New research on food allergies finds that milk allergies are not only a medical problem, but also a financial burden for families.

In fact, the condition recorded the highest average number of services per patient of any food allergy in 2016, surpbading even widely publicized allergies to peanuts and shellfish, according to Fair Health's badysis, one is a non-profit organization. profit that manages a database of private insurance claims and provides information on costs to industry and consumers.

Still, the study found that peanuts outperformed all other food allergens by causing serious and sometimes fatal reactions known as anaphylaxis. Allergies to peanuts accounted for a quarter of the medical services administered to treat anaphylaxis between 2007 and 2016. Anaphylactic reactions to dairy products accounted for only 5 percent.

Number of people with increasing allergies

add to growing evidence that the number of people living with a food allergy is increasing. From 2007 to 2016, medical services related to food allergies listed in private health insurance claims increased by 76 percent, said Robin Gelburd, president of Fair Health.

BJ Lanser, director of the pediatric food allergy program at National Jewish Health in Denver, said the causes of those allergies are not limited to certain proprietary foods.

While peanuts pose a life-threatening risk to some people, he said, other food allergies can also lead to a physical and financial life. stress.

"We can not just think about peanuts, we have to think about the other major food allergens," he said. "This is a disease that carries a significant cost burden."

Report results

Among the findings of the report:

  • The increase in food allergies varied by location. From 2007 to 2016, the number of services and procedures for these allergies increased by 70 percent in urban environments and more than doubled in rural areas.
  • For children, food allergies were more common among boys than girls, but among adults the opposite was true.
  • The effects of allergens also varied according to gender. Women and girls were more commonly treated for allergies to food additives, but peanuts were the highest category for men and boys.
  • Food allergies are typically badociated with children, but 34 percent of procedures and services involved patients older than 18 years. 19659021] The report also badyzed the costs of treating anaphylactic reactions in food allergies. The number of treatments for these life-threatening cases increased 377 percent from 2007 to 2016.

    But surprisingly, 7 out of 10 services were handled in doctor's offices, while 13 percent were in outpatient centers (which could include hospital emergency). Two percent were specifically labeled as emergency room treatment.

    Eight foods

    According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than 90 percent of food allergies are related to eight foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

    Sensitivity to milk can vary, from a severe allergy such as that of Matt Mitchell to an intolerance that causes gastric distress but technically it is not a medical allergy.

    The Fair Health report found that a peanut allergy is less financially threatening than other foods. The services and treatments related to a peanut allergy averaged $ 236.73 per patient in 2016. That was a quarter of the cost of an allergy to a dairy product, which averaged $ 1,043.89 per patient in the same year.

    Lanser said that the high cost of treating milk allergies is probably related to the high price of milk substitutes, particularly alternative formulas for babies. Neither the researchers nor the experts, however, could explain the wide variation in the cost of treating anaphylaxis among food allergies.

    Other studies

    Gelburd said the report aims to identify trends in food allergies that could inspire other studies and discoveries. "We never want our data study to be the end of a conversation," Gelburd said. "Rather, we would like it to be the beginning of a conversation that adds greater understanding to an area."

    Today, Lynda Mitchell is the interim executive director of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a patient advocacy group for people with asthma and allergies. True to tradition, with his son in mind, he intends to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner without milk. She will look for a turkey that has not been injected with a solution that may have a dairy base. She will make mashed potatoes with chicken broth and margarine, but not milk or cream. And she will make her pumpkin pie without dairy.

    "As a parent of a child with a food allergy, especially a small child, you always have to be examining the landscape and having that vision in your head about whether this is going to be a high-risk situation or not," He said. "And it's worth it." But it's something that parents of children who have food allergies have to do every day. "

    Update: This story was updated on November 22 to attribute information about the increase in insurance claims for allergies Foods to Robin Gelburd, President of Fair Health.

    This story was produced by Kaiser Health News an independent editorial program of the Kaiser Family Foundation . 19659037] Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and other more than 70 titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download at 4am and share articles on social networks Call 896 6000.

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