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Food Allergies - What Increases Your Risk

You have a greater chance of developing food allergies if you:

  • Have a family history of allergy. If both of your parents have allergies, you are more likely to have allergies.
  • Have another allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis or asthma.
  • Are young. Infants and children have more food allergies than adults.
  • Have a medical condition that makes it easier for allergens to pass through the walls of the stomach and intestines and enter the bloodstream. These conditions include gastrointestinal disease, malnutrition, prematurity, and diseases that impair the immune system, such as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

You have a greater risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from food allergy if you:

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  • Have asthma.
  • Develop allergy symptoms within minutes of eating the food.

If you or your child has a severe food allergy, always carry epinephrine and know how to use it. You should also wear a medical alert bracelet at all times. Being prepared to immediately deal with a severe allergic reaction reduces the risk of death.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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