Allergic concerns

A bite of a peanut butter-rich candy turned into an allergic reaction for Ashton Cortez.
Krystle Wagner
May 7, 2013

That was three years ago. The boy, now 5, is a kindergartner at Griffin Elementary School, where the staff works with his mother to ensure he has a safe environment.

Increasingly, Ashton is not alone.

A National Health Interview Survey indicates the number of children with food and skin allergies is on the rise. In the late 1990s, about 3.4 percent of children from infant to age 17 had food allergies; it rose to 5.1 percent from 2009-11. The number of children with skin allergies increased from 7.4 percent in the late 1990s to 12.5 percent in recent years.

Ashton’s mother, Jaclyn Ashcraft, said her son’s reaction to the candy three years ago baffled her because it was his first taste of peanut butter and she didn’t know anything about food allergies at the time.

Although tests showed that the young boy has a tree nut allergy, they came back negative for reactions to peanut butter. However, Jaclyn said they steer clear of it to ensure there isn’t a relapse.

“It was hard at first because you don’t necessarily realize how many foods it can affect,” the Grand Haven Township woman said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports eight types of foods are responsible for about 90 percent of all food allergies: cow’s milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soybeans, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts — such as walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and macadamia.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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