An estimated 32 million people in the U.S. have food allergies, including 1 in 13 children. Food allergy is a complex and often misunderstood disease. A food allergy happens when your immune system overreacts to what should be a harmless food protein – an allergen.
Food allergies are potentially life-threatening and life-altering.
Watch FARE’s new video, featuring a voiceover from actor Steve Carell, then learn more about food allergies and how you can support those living with life-threatening food allergies.
Steve Carell is an award-winning actor and comedian known for wide-ranging roles including NBC's hit television show "The Office" and films such as Despicable Me and Anchorman. He has earned critical acclaim through work in films such as Foxcatcher, Little Miss Sunshine, Dan in Real Life and Battle of the Sexes, and currently stars in the drama Beautiful Boy, based on a true story about a family coping with addiction. We at FARE are extremely grateful to Steve for lending his time and his voice to help us continue to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of millions of Americans who are living with food allergies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common food allergens?
In the U.S., there are eight major food allergens as classified by the FDA. They are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. Sesame is an emerging allergen.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy reaction?
Reactions can range from mild (a rash, a few hives) to severe (trouble breathing, swelling of the throat). Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can occur rapidly and is potentially fatal. People with food allergies are prescribed epinephrine, the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, and must carry this medication with them at all times.
Who can get a food allergy?
Anyone can develop a food allergy, at any age. There are some food allergens that are more common in children (such as milk and eggs).
Are some food allergies more serious than others?
Over 170 foods have been known to cause allergic reactions. Any food allergy should be taken seriously.
Is there a cure for food allergy?
At this time, there is no FDA-approved treatment for food allergy. Promising research is underway to develop new treatments. In May 2018, FARE published a free, in-depth exploration of this research, titled Hope for a Safer Future: A Special Report on Food Allergy Therapies.
What can I do to support someone with a food allergy?
All of us can help reduce the risk of exposing someone with food allergies to their allergen. Learn the basics of food allergies, and inquire as to what you can do to help keep them safe. Understand that people with food allergies have to exercise vigilance at all times to ensure that they do not experience a serious allergic reaction.
Food allergy reactions can turn life-threatening in a matter of minutes. If you see someone having an allergic reaction, call 911 immediately.
Download FARE’s free Recognize and Respond to Anaphylaxis Poster so you’ll be prepared if someone has a reaction.
You can also support FARE’s life-changing and lifesaving initiatives on behalf of 32 million Americans in the U.S. by making a contribution today.