Raising Awareness to the Personal and Research Challenges of Food Allergy
May 11-17 marks the 11th Annual Food Allergy Awareness Week, a time set aside to increase the public's awareness of food allergies and the potential challenges they pose.
Balintfy: May 11-17 marks the 11th Annual Food Allergy Awareness Week, a time set aside to increase the public's awareness of food allergies and the potential challenges they pose.
Fauci: In the United States, approximately 6 to 8 percent of children under age 4 and nearly 4 percent of adults have a food allergy.
Balintfy: Dr. Anthony Fauci is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He explains that in an average week, two or three otherwise healthy Americans will lose their lives due to allergic reactions to foods.
Fauci: Allergic reactions to foods occur when the immune system over-reacts to food proteins, triggering reactions that can range from itchy hives to difficulty breathing, cardiovascular collapse, and a life-threatening systemic process known as anaphylaxis. Approximately 30,000 cases of food-induced anaphylaxis occur in the United States each year, leading to as many as 200 deaths.
Balintfy: Food allergies, aside from having potential life-threatening consequences, also can affect an individual's nutritional status, development, and quality of life. Dr. Fauci adds that these burdens disproportionately affect children.
Fauci: For children and their families, severe food allergies are accompanied by a fear of future serious reactions and the stigma of avoiding common foods, particularly in schools and social settings where too often others do not appreciate the seriousness of the allergy.
Balintfy: NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the nation's principal supporter of food allergy research.
Fauci: We fund a broad research program in allergy and immunology that helps us to better understand the human immune system and how, in some people, certain foods trigger an allergic reaction.
Balintfy: For more information about food allergies, visit the NIAID website at www.niaid.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Anthony S. Fauci
Topic: Food Allergies