A food allergy is an exaggerated, adverse immune reaction to food affecting 6 to 8 percent of children under 3 to 6 years old and 3 to 4 percent of adults, and the incidence is rising. A food allergy is different from the more common food intolerance. There are nine common food allergies and several lesser ones. Most allergies are IgE mediated, involve histamine release, and can be diagnosed by one of several tests. The only treatment is strict avoidance.

A food allergy is a type I immediate hypersensitive reaction mediated by the immune system involving an antibody immunoglobulin, IgE, and mast cells. When the individual is first exposed to the food, his or her white blood cell lymphocytes produce the IgE antibody to the food ...

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