Cohen, J. John Department of Immunology, University of Colorado Medical School, Aurora, Colorado.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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- IgE antibodies and allergic mechanisms
- Triggers and symptoms
- Oral allergy syndrome
- Food intolerance
- Treatment and prevention
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An altered immunological reaction to a food substance to which people typically do not react. A food allergy is a hypersensitivity to a certain food or foods. Allergy to food is similar to that to other environmental allergens [substances (antigens) foreign to the body that cause an allergic response], such as pollens, but there are additional specific risks, symptoms, and immunological mechanisms. As many as 8% of children and 4% of adults experience food allergy symptoms (Fig. 1). Annually, in the United States, about 200,000 people require emergency medical treatment, and an estimated 150–200 people die from allergic reactions each year. See also: Allergy; Antigen; Food; Pollen
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