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CDC reports rise in child food allergies

PHOENIX — A Center for Disease Control report found food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent from 1997 to 2011.

“The (allergies) that are more common have become even more pronounced,” Dr. Cindy Bauer, allergist-immunologist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital said. “So for example, peanut allergies have always been one of the more common food allergens and the increase in peanut allergies has been huge.”

Bauer said she has noticed the increase while working with children at PCH over the last several years. She said the rise may be caused by an outdated practice.

“With changing guidelines in the past we actually were for a while recommending delaying the introduction of these highly-allergenic foods in the hopes that that would decrease the development of allergies,” she said.

New data finds it might be more beneficial to expose children to highly-allergenic foods to avoid severe allergies in the future.

“So then the pendulum seemed to swing in which it was then suspected, ‘Wait a minute maybe we’re actually making it worse, maybe we’re contributing so maybe we need to do earlier introduction,'” she said.

Bauer said parents who suspect their child has food allergies should have them tested by a doctor.