Studies show U.S. childhood allergies jumped 18 percent in less than twenty years. No one knows the cause, but some experts have guesses:
Dr. Paul Sharkey says doctors are able to diagnose allergies better. He also says processed foods and bad diets could play a role. Finally, he says the sterile environment in the U.S. makes children more prone to allergies--this is also known as the "Hygiene Hypothesis."
Now, many Texas parents have joined together to support bills that would develop guidelines for schools' allergy protocols; One of them is Vicki Smith.
Smith's twin sons are allergic to several foods like eggs, nuts, and corn. "At lunch they sit at a separate table like an allergy-free type table, and they wipe it down before they eat," she says. When they have allergic reactions, she knows just what to do.
Sending her kids to school is a whole different story. She says, "I know they have an EpiPen in the classroom for these guys and in the office, but would they respond quick? I don't know."