Itchy skin, hives and abdominal pain are just some of the unpleasant symptoms of food allergies. According to a new study, 1 in every 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy. That averages about 2 children per classroom. Forty percent of the allergies are severe.
"Yes, there is some increase in the food allergies now. Especially we don't know what's on the food. There's a lot of secret ingredients that companies, you know, they sell or they cook with," said Allergist, Dr. Marwan Obid.
At Surfisde Daycare in Panama City Beach, 11 out of 50 kids have a known food allergy. Director of the center, Jessica Cyr, says communication is key in managing those allergies.
"We make sure all of the teachers are aware of it and we post it in every classroom as well as on the refrigerator and in our lunchroom," said Cyr.
The most common is peanut and milk allergies. Bay District Schools has a no peanut butter policy meaning they don't serve anything with peanut butter.
"Usually, the school nurses are very, very involved. Not all schools have nurses but there are several in the schools and I stay in constant communication with them. They stay in communication with the teachers and the lunchroom managers," said Director of Food Services for Bay District Schools, Kim Blackwell.
The good news is most children eventually outgrow food allergy, but they can develop into an environmental allergy. Dr. Obid says there is a proven correlation between environmental and food allergies. For example, if you are allergic to oak, you will also be allergic to eggs.