Food allergy affects nearly six million people, be it to nuts, eggs, dairy, shellfish, or other foods. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (F.A.R.E.), about 40 percent of those individuals have had a severe allergic reaction in their lifetime. Although there are tactics to try and prevent the onset of food allergies at an early age, there is no cure yet. For allergic school children, being bullied about their allergic condition can be life-threatening.

Food allergy can be dangerous

According to the Department of Child Health, University of Manchester, UK, food intolerance is a "form of adverse reaction to food in which the cause is an immunological response to a food." Reactions can include hives, shortness of breath, or anaphylaxis, commonly known as hypersensitivity. These allergies can be deadly, depending on what foods a person is allergic to and how severe those allergies are.

The most common foods people can have allergic reactions to are shellfish, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and peanuts. People can outgrow food sensitivities as they get older, but it doesn’t always happen that way.

According to the Two-Way on National Public Radio (NPR), there are less than 7,000 allergists in the United States; therefore, our country might not be prepared to diagnose food allergies. It can be hard to decide what constitutes an allergy versus a simple reaction, especially in younger children.

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Females are found to be more likely to suffer from food allergies; four percent four of the population of women have this problem, while three percent of men deal with it.

Bullying kids with food allergies

In an article by NPR, it is said that over 30 percent of kids with food allergies have been bullied because of it. NPR talked to one teenager that has dealt with food-allergy bullying. The boy, Brandon Williams (16), has a severe egg allergy that he was diagnosed with at the age of one.

On a bowling trip, a teammate decided to eat mayonnaise-smeared food from McDonald’s on Brandon’s bed. The mayo ended up on Williams’s bed and jacket, even though he had told the other kid not to eat on his bed. While classmates find it funny to tease Brandon with foods he can’t eat, it is a life-threatening problem for Brandon.

NPR cited a study done in 2014 by “The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology” that has almost ruled out this bullying as a new phenomenon.

Children seem to bully others for a variety of things, and food allergies are just something else to make the affected children different from the rest. F.A.R.E. is consistently trying to find a cure for these harmful allergens.

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