Wheat allergy, the most prevalent food allergy, is most common in young children, usually developing in the infancy and toddler years. Some infants and young children will appear to lose their wheat allergies between the ages of three and five, however some will merely be in remission until their 20s or 30s. Some children will continue to experience wheat allergies throughout their lives. While wheat allergies that develop in adolescence or adulthood are rare.
Many wheat allergy symptoms are similar to those reactions a person has to airborne allergens like pollen and dust. You may notice your infant or young child experiencing an itching and swelling of the mouth, throat, or skin when products containing wheat have been ingested. Itchy or watery eyes and congestion may also be present. Because of this, it may be easy to mistake a wheat allergy for regular airborne allergies.
The occurrence of gluten intolerance in the Finnish population has doubled in the past twenty years. In the early 1980s, about one per cent of adults in Finland had gluten intolerance, but the figure has since gone up to two per cent by the 2000s. Screening has shown that gluten intolerance occurs in 1.5 per cent of Finnish children and 2.7 per cent of the elderly. The higher figure for older people is explained by the fact that the condition becomes more frequent with age.
Professor Markku Mäki. Mäki has set up an internationally acclaimed research team on gluten intolerance, developing screening tests for gluten intolerance. Mäki is head of a research project in the Academy of Finland’s Research Programme on Nutrition, Food and Health (ELVIRA).