According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japanese people hardly have allergies in the last 50 years. However, it is said that one in three people have some kind of allergies today. Along with the progress of industrialization and civilization, food allergy has begun to increase rapidly within the last 15 years. The allergy is found in children to adults, and in some cases are serious.
In this site AlleHapi, we will inform you of accurate information about food allergies.
Basics Of Food Allergy
Food allergy simply means that certain kinds of food cause various symptoms such as hive, eczema, diarrhea, or coughing which occur in the body. It happens not only when you eat food, but also when you touch, breathe in, or when getting an injection.
In our body, there is a mechanism which recognizes foreign objects that have different constituent from its body to attack and eliminate. This is what we call “immunity”. Allergic reactions are also widely considered to be part of the immune reaction. When your immunity responds to foreign bodies, it causes damage to your body’s sensitively. This is called an allergic reaction. Therefore, allergy is translated as “hypersensitivity condition” in Japanese.
In food allergy, when a certain component of food is recognized as a foreign body, allergic reactions occur to eliminate it. Because of the substance causing allergy reactions is carried to the whole body by the circulation of the bloodstream, various symptoms appear in the eyes, nose, throat, lung, skin or intestines.
What is an allergen (food antigen)?
There are certain causative substances in developing allergy reactions. These substances are called allergens. When the allergen comes from food, it is said to be “food allergen” or “food antigen”.
The category of “Food” is quite extensive, however, the type of foods that cause allergy are few and far between. Foods that are known to cause food allergies have been recognized through it’s history. Among them, there is seven foods that cause numerous allergic reaction and in some cases severe symptoms. Those seven foods are called ‘’Specified 7 ingredients ’’ to call attention to their potential risks.
【Specified 7 Ingredients】
Eggs, milk, wheat, soba, peanuts, shrimp, crab
Due to the fact that this specific ingredient has a great influence on health, processed foods including these substances are required to indicate them on the product by law.
Furthermore, 20 items that caused health damage at a certain frequency have been designated as “substances equivalent to specified 7 ingredients”.
【Substances equivalent to specified 7 ingredients】
Abalone, salmon roe, squid, orange, kiwi fruit, beef, walnut, salmon, mackerel, soybean
Chicken, Pork, Matsutake mushroom, Peach, Yams, Apples, Gelatin, Banana, Sesame, Cashew Nut
As for the substances equivalent to specified 7 ingredients, processed foods including these substances are required to indicate them on the product as much as possible by law.
Food allergies often found in small children
Most food allergies are said to develop in infancy. As they grow, they become capable of eating food that contains allergens in most cases. This is called “remission” in technical terms.
With children, food allergy develops mostly around 1 year of age. As for the allergens, eggs, milk, wheat and soybean are the main antigens.
A characteristic of such childhood food allergies is that it will improve naturally in most cases. For parents who are concerned, they might be relieved to hear this information.
To be specific, even those who are diagnosed with food allergy at the age of 1, 90% of them are thought to be naturally remitted by the time they enter elementary school. However, there are cases where the remaining 10% of children cannot eat eggs forever.
Which allergens are most common
The most common food allergy that children have is egg followed by milk. The third most common allergy is wheat although the frequency is lower.
Looking at the proportion of food allergens, at the age of 3, eggs and milk account for 62% of the total. More than 60% of children develop food allergy due to these two main allergens.
However, the first year of elementary school, the proportion of eggs and milk decline to 54% and 49% in 5th grade. The sophomore year of junior high school, milk becomes the 4th place after shrimp, crab or fish.
In other words, childhood food allergy that developed in infancy is characterized by this deduction as they grow.
Is my child allergic to food? The way to find out.
The uncertainty of whether a child is allergic to a certain food or not makes parents worried. Especially if skin rash or allergies run in their family. To make things confusing, you would find yourself overwhelmed by enormous information when you search for “food allergy” on the internet. Even doctors have a different view when it comes to allergy.
As you already know, food allergy is a problem directly linked to everyday eating habits.
There are some parents who believe that their child is allergic to certain foods. But this is an issue because parents may be allergic to milk doesn’t mean their child is.
Using a parent’s own judgment on their child can pose a risk of misunderstanding or even cases where it is wrong in the first place. As a matter of fact, diagnosis of food allergy is said to be extremely difficult even by experienced pediatric allergists.
The important thing is to talk to a doctor whom you can trust. In general, during a medical interview, detailed life history is asked. If it is a small child, you will be asked a series of questions regarding exposure to pets, the way of feeding (breastfeeding nutrition or artificial milk, baby food). In addition, family history and history of allergy (such as the relationship between symptoms and food consumed ) are asked.
It’s important to understand that various allergy test are conducted after the medical interview.
The way of thinking about food allergy is changing
Research on food allergy is evolving daily. In recent years, the onset of certain food allergy is thought to occur due to “weakened the skin barrier function” in addition to the consumption of specific food.
Until recently, the importance of starting baby food late and removing allergic-causing ingredients are recognized. Currently, with the progression of research, a new mechanism of allergy is becoming understood. Particles of food in the air get into the skin where it’s barrier function is weakened due to atopic dermatitis.
It’s called ”Percutaneous sensitization”
There is a limit to the latest information on an individual basis. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to ask the doctor.
Get accurate knowledge with reliable information
Information related to food allergies is available from various sources including websites, blogs, and SNS. Unfortunately, among the information, some of them are not accurate. Do not think about food allergies lightly. Because sometimes it can develop into a serious life-threatening condition called“anaphylaxis”.
The purpose of this site AlleHapi is to provide reliable information for people to read them safely and equip the readers with the right knowledge to respond and manage allergies accurately.
In the near future, we are planning to deliver useful information as follows.
- The latest information on allergy (academic society report · event · new treatment method etc)
- Children’s meal (Recommended foods and ingredients · Recipes for children · Recipes for baby food)
- How to respond to Children’s allergies on a daily basis
- Choosing a hospital (how to find a good family doctor, how to find a hospital)
- Allergy-friendly restaurants, accommodation facilities. How to be careful when going out.
- How to cope with children’s allergies in the event of an emergency
- Allergic troubles · How I dealt with it. Sharing Reader Experiences
Anyone who is having a hard time, let’s overcome it together.
We would like to help as many children and parents as possible.
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- Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “Rheumatism · Allergy Consultant Training Workshop (” Chapter 4 Food Allergy “)
- General Association of Japanese Allergy Society “To all the general public” Learn about allergies “
- General Foundation Japan Food Analysis Center “Food allergen test (equivalent to specified ingredients · Ingredients that are equivalent to specified ingredients)”
- Nippon Ham Co., Ltd. “What is a food allergy?”
- · NHK health ch “Child’s Food Allergy New Measures”