It's a good thing 3-year-old Eva has a taste for grapes. She's allergic to almost all fruits and vegetables.

Cantaloupe and cauliflower and peas, and cucumbers, and onions and tomatoes, said mom Hanh Yamamoto.

That's just the beginning.

She's allergic to dairy, wheat, eggs, said Hanh.

All those foods make her itch, and break out in hives. Her first reaction was to her mother's milk.

I ate eggs one morning and nursed her and she had an extreme reaction to it, said Hanh.

While her sister Elle has no allergies some of Elle's classmates do.

Their classroom is a peanut free classroom, said Hanh.

Now new research in the journal Pediatrics showed food allergies among children in the U. S. rose nearly 20 percent from 1997 to 2007.

The trend seems to be a real trend, which leads to the next question, well why is that happening if that's true? said Dr. Frank Virant, Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center.

Dr. Virant is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. He says scientists aren't certain why food allergies are on the rise. It could be part of a bigger puzzle.

It certainly parallels the increase in airborne allergy that we've seen not just in the last decade perhaps, but over the last 30 years, he said.

He says treating allergies can be complicated, but parents should be reassured that fatal allergic reactions are rare.

I've never seen such a case, and I certainly have, really several hundred children with very severe peanut allergy, he said.

Eva's family has adapted to life with allergies.

I carry an epi-pen all the time, said Hanh.

Hopefully if she grows out of it, great! If not, we've already adjusted to her diet. The whole family has.

Experts say shellfish, nut and peanut allergies often stick with kids for life. But most kids outgrow milk and egg allergies by age 5.

Dr. Virant says some pediatricians are reluctant to send an infant for allergy testing. But it's only mildly uncomfortable for the baby, and early intervention is important.

For more information:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

Food Allergy Web Site for Kids

Read or Share this story: