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7 Healthcast

Spike in food and skin allergies among children

UNDATED (WHDH) -- New research from the CDC shows a spike in food and skin allergies among children in this country.

But even for the experts, the cause is still largely a mystery.

Lupe Gonzales fears her five-year-old son, Lawrence, may be part of a puzzling trend.

She suspects he has a food allergy.

"He was throwing up. That he was swelling around the face. Swelling around the neck. His lips were swelling. he was having labored breathing," said Gonzales.

It's not just food - doctors are hearing more concerns from parents about skin allergies, such as eczema, in their children.

It is all part of what the government says is a dramatic rise in allergies in America's kids.

In a report, the Centers for Disease Control found 1 in 20 American kids have food allergies, a 50-percent increase from 1997 to 2011.

One in 12 have skin allergies, nearly 69 percent more.

"I don't think we completely know the absolute one reason why it's increasing. if you have a genetic family history, then those patients are at higher risk for developing food allergies or eczema," said Dr. David Fleischer.

Some doctors suspect children are growing up in homes so clean from anti-bacterial cleaners that they may be becoming more sensitive.

Another possibility is today's parents are just more vigilant about getting kids tested.

Allergy alert dog Cici is truly Riley Myers best friend. ici is trained to sniff out the peanuts and eggs, Riley is severely allergic to both.

"If Riley ever comes into contact with peanuts, we have probably five to ten minutes to make sure she has medical attention or she will stop breathing and she will die. It's that simple," said Sherry Mears, Riley's mother.

Today, Cici, along with EPI pens and medicines, help Riley live a normal life and her mom Sherry can relax a little, trying to make sure allergies are just a part of childhood and less of an obstacle.