As schools and parents become more aware of potential food allergies for children, one state is reporting increased cases of children visiting the emergency room for treatment of severe food allergies.

The Associated Press reported that an analysis of Illinois hospital data showed that the number of ER visits relating to food allergies increased from 226 in 2008 to 590 in 2012. The study was unable to pin down what is driving the trend upward, the AP reported.

Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper talked about food allergies, what reactions there are and when sufferers should get to an emergency room.

Q: What types of food are often sources of allergies for people?

A: “Many different foods can cause allergic reactions. Common triggers include peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, wheat and eggs.”

Q: How can someone determine if they are allergic without eating the food?

A: “Skin and blood tests are available to determine if people are allergic to many food triggers.”

Q: What is the range of reactions in which someone can be allergic to a food?

A: “The range of possible allergic reactions is broad. People can suffer nagging symptoms, such as itching and swelling. More severe reactions can include trouble swallowing and difficulty breathing.”

Q:. How do Epi-pens work?

A: “Epi-pens work by reducing swelling, improving blood pressure, and maximizing breathing during an allergic reaction.”

Q: When should someone seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room for a food allergy?

A: “Swelling of the eyes, lips or face, as well as dizziness, difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing and chest tightness are red flags and necessitate immediate attention.”

Dr. Chad Jumper is a family practice physician at Boiling Springs Family Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. He attended Penn State and completed his residency at Reading Hospital and Medical Center. He is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Association of Family Practice. Check Boiling Springs Family Medicine on Twitter @DrChadJumper and on Facebook. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your individual health.

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