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10 common allergy myths

By: Katherine Butler on June 2, 2011, 7:54 a.m.
close-up of organic fruit with sticker

Photo: bludgeoner86/Flickr

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You can't be allergic to organic food

You might think that food grown organically would be free of allergens, but this is a misconception. Organic foods may be free of harmful pesticides, but they aren’t free of the proteins that cause allergic reactions. About 60 million Americans, or one in four, are afflicted with allergies. As defined by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an “allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance ('allergen') that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched. This immune overreaction can result in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat.” More severe symptoms include rash, hives, asthma and even death.