Food allergies are one of the most common types of allergies which may sometimes lead to severe reactions called anaphylaxis. During the last two decades, the number of food allergy cases have declined in the UK, confirming that fewer people are dying with anaphylaxis triggered by allergens. However, this study is specific to the UK only and the results may not be the exact same in other parts of the world.
This study was conducted by the research team from the Imperial College London found, cow milk is the biggest trigger of food-related allergies especially in school-going children. The complete findings of this study are now published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
The earlier reports on food allergy cases suggest that at least two million people in the UK are suffering from food-related allergies. Symptoms for these allergies range from mild to moderate and some people may experience breathing problems, inability to speak or swallow. Still, deaths in these food allergy cases are rare. According to UK health experts, less than 10 deaths are linked with food-related allergies annually.
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Dr Paul Turner, who works at the Imperial’s National Lung and Heart Institute is the lead author of this study. According to him, there are two important aspects of this study, the first of which is that food-related anaphylaxis cases are significantly reducing, despite more people are going to the hospitals reporting allergic reactions.
The second important thing is cow milk is the biggest source of causing these food allergy cases, especially in young children. Although food allergies are mostly linked with tree nuts and peanuts cow’s milk is found to be the biggest culprit in these reactions.
Now that there are so much awareness and information about food allergies, many people still fail to believe that cow’s milk is giving them allergy. One of the reasons is that people assume milk is good for health, so it is highly unlikely for it to cause any side effects. Plus, milk is a part of every diet, either as whole or inside various recipes, so people don’t pay much attention to the risks that it can cause to them.
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The Food Standards Agency and Medical Research Council (UK) has funded this study and the data was collected through the hospital entries and admissions reporting anaphylaxis caused by a food allergy from 1998 to 2018. Sushma Acharya who heads the Policy and Strategy for Food Hypersensitivity at Food Stranded Agency says that these findings are helpful to understand how common are food allergy cases in the UK.
This prevalence can also explain the changing trends of adverse reactions linked with food, who is at high risk of these reactions and which type of food is responsible for inducing these side effects.
She further explained this current study to be a part of a bigger plan which Agency has commissioned to estimate food allergy trends in the UK. It is to help the UK emerge as the most food-friendly place, with improved food sensitivity and life quality in the natives. This information will also help people to make better choices in their diet and avoid any food which they suspect is giving them allergic reactions.