As allergies become more common and accommodated for, there are also more allergy skeptics which can make life harder for some allergy sufferers. But some of the skeptics do have a point. Is every ailment and reaction to some food really an allergy? Probably not.
There is no doubt that food allergies are on the rise (see chart 1), and this is only over 20 years. What concerns me is two opposing forces that end up feeding each other: everyone jumping on the bandwagon and allergy skeptics.
The problem with so many people jumping on the bandwagon is that many of them are undiagnosed with ill-informed opinions about allergies, so they most likely don’t have allergies. This doesn’t help them solve their problems. Some of this behavior may be attention-seeking which is annoying and does a dis-service to the rest of us with serious, bonafide allergies.
Enter the skeptic. With so many people jumping on the bandwagon, seemingly some of them without allergies or possibly anything wrong with them at all, there are bound to be doubters. On the other hand, some people are probably just tired of hearing about it, especially if, for example, parents are restricted from what they can include in their child’s school lunch due to a school ban on peanut butter.Chart 1: Food allergy among children in the United States
Of course allergies are real and they seem to be getting worse. 30 years ago the idea of a school banning peanuts was not something most people had heard of. Now it is quite wide spread, and that’s just one type of allergy.
Here’s and example of a comment on one of the articles on this site (Kale Allergy)
Comment by Humbug: “what a load of nonsense”
Here is my reply to that comment: “I was going to delete this comment because it doesn’t seem helpful, but decided to publish it because it highlights two issues:
1) people have allergies, and some people don’t believe it. This can make it very difficult for the person with allergies to stay healthy, especially if Humbug is a family member.
2) Some people think “allergy” is the flavor of the month, and that any time they feel unwell after eating something, it must be an allergy, which just isn’t true. I’ll link this comment to an article when I write one in the next day or two and you can leave your comments on the subject if you like.”
What is your experience with food allergies and allergy skeptics? Are you an allergy skeptic? Why? Please leave a comment.