HOUSTON (KIAH) – An average of two children per U.S. classroom have a serious food allergy, according to allergy awareness advocacy groups.

The severity of allergic reaction can vary, but tongue swelling and difficulty breathing means emergency treatment may be necessary.

McLane Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dominic Lucia said data showed more people are becoming impacted by food allergies.

“We also know the incidence of it since the ‘90’s has gone up by over fifty percent, so we need to bring awareness to this topic, we need to bring education to this topic,” said Dr. Lucia.

He added exposing young children to small amounts of common allergens may help reduce food allergies as they grow up.