Study: Food, Skin Allergies Increasing in Children

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

NEW YORK (AP) -- Experts say they're not sure why parents are reporting more skin and food allergies in their children.

A big government study says 1 in 20 children in the U.S. have food allergies That's a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s.

For eczema and other skin allergies, it's 1 in 8 children. That's an increase of 69 percent. The study found no increase in hay fever or other respiratory allergies.

The new report isn't precise. It uses annual surveys of thousands of adults interviewed in person and researchers didn't ask the parents if a doctor had made the diagnosis.

Dr. Morton Galina, a pediatric allergist at Atlanta's Emory School of Medicine, says, "We see a lot of kids in clinic that really aren't" allergic to the foods their parents worry about." He says hives are sometimes blamed on a certain food when a virus was the actual cause.

But experts also believe there's a real -- and unexplained -- increase going on, too.

Dr. Peter Lio, a Northwestern University pediatric dermatologist who specializes in eczema, says big cities have higher childhood allergy rates. He says maybe some air pollutant is the unrecognized trigger.

Another theory is that America's culture of disinfection and overuse of antibiotics doesn't give children the opportunity to be exposed to the germs and parasites in early childhood that could prevent the body from developing certain allergies.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to
Please provide detailed information.
All comments must adhere to the discussion rules.

powered by Disqus
WSAW-TV 1114 Grand Ave. Wausau, WI 54403
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 205791081 -
Gray Television, Inc.