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What Are the Most Common Allergies?

What Are the Most Common Allergies?
Did you know there are just eight food allergies that cause around 90 percent of allergic reactions in children and adults? Let’s take a look at them in turn – and why they might arise.

Allergies in Australia

Interestingly, Australia has one of the highest rates of allergic disorders in the developed world. A whopping 4.1 million of us have at least one allergy – and 78 percent of people with allergies are aged between 15 and 64 (defined as the ‘working population’).
 
Specifically, food allergies affect around 2 percent of Aussie adults and 4-8 percent of children.

The most common food allergies

According to Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, children tend to ‘grow out’ of allergies. Here are some of the most common food allergies in kids:
  • Overall food allergy (10 percent)
  • Cow’s milk (2.7%)
  • Eggs (8.8 percent)
  • Peanuts (3 percent)
  • Tree nuts
In adults, fish and shellfish are the most common food allergies. Some people may also be allergic to wheat, soy, and sesame (0.8%).
 
Some food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening – especially in children. Although this is relatively rare in Australia.

Other common allergies

There are many non-food items that can also cause an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis. These include:
  • Medications
  • Latex
  • Insect bites
  • Dust mites
  • Grass and tree pollen
  • Mould
  • Household chemicals
  • Animal hair

How to manage allergies

If you suspect you may be allergic to any food or substance, you should get tested. This will help your doctor or other practitioner identify what’s causing the reaction – so you know what to reduce or avoid.
 
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website has some useful information on different types of tests and next steps. This includes skin prick, scratch, blood, and patch testing.

If you experience (or see someone experiencing) a severe allergic reaction, you should seek medical attention immediately.

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