AU: Going nuts: Why are Australians allergic to everything?
Two generations ago, EpiPens were unheard of and taking peanut butter to school didn’t provoke hostile debate between parents. Now around one in 50 Australian children has a peanut allergy. A 2013 study by a team of researchers led by Katie Allen found that one in 10 children aged 12 months living in Melbourne had a food allergy – the highest incidence of food allergy ever reported in the world. Hospital admissions in Australia for severe allergic reactions for anaphylaxis due to food allergy in children aged four and under have jumped five-fold in the past 10 years.
We live in an age of food panic – carb panic, sugar panic and, more recently, berries-from-China panic – so it’s easy to think that with food allergy the enemy is food, especially foods such as cow’s milk, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, sesame, soy, fish and wheat that are most likely to trigger allergy. But the problem isn’t foodâ€¦