Food Allergy: What You Need to Know
Food allergy is relatively common throughout the world. They are most common during childhood, and many children outgrow them before reaching adulthood.
Although allergic reactions are frequently mild, they can be fatal. Let learn more about this condition by reading our article.
What is Food Allergy?
Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs shortly after consuming a specific food. The severity of food allergies ranges from mild symptoms like hives and lip swelling to severe, life-threatening symptoms like anaphylaxis.
Most food allergies develop in childhood and, in most cases, children outgrow them, though this is not always the case. Adults can develop food allergies, but this is uncommon.
Food allergy symptoms usually appear within a few minutes to two hours of eating the offending food. Symptoms may be delayed for several hours in rare cases.
Food allergies can affect multiple parts of the body at the same time. The following are the most common food allergy signs and symptoms:
- Itching or tingling in the mouth.
- Itching and hives.
- Lip, face, tongue, throat, other parts of the body swelling.
- Wheezing, nasal congestion, or breathing difficulties.
- Pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or fainting.
Common Foods that Cause Allergy
Food allergy occurs when the immune system incorrectly treats proteins in food as a threat.
Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but certain foods are responsible for the majority of food allergies.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 8 foods as major food allergens:
- Tree nuts
They are accounted for 90 percent of food allergies and serious allergic reactions in the U.S.
Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance
Many people who believe they have a food allergy actually have a food intolerance because the signs and symptoms are similar in some cases. However, it is not the same.
Unlike allergies, which are only caused by proteins, food intolerance can be caused by proteins, chemicals, or carbohydrates in foods. It may also be caused by a lack of enzymes or compromised intestinal permeability.
They were most likely suffering from other unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, or bloating.
Is there a cure for Food Allergy?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for food allergies as well as there are no medications that can prevent reactions.
The only sure way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid known food allergens in your diet.
The simplest and most effective way to avoid a reaction is to avoid problematic foods.
Avoid making drastic dietary changes, such as eliminating dairy products, without first consulting your doctor.
Medication for emergencies
The following medications are helpful in the event of an allergic reaction:
Antihistamines are medicines often used to relieve the symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction.
They also come in several different forms – including tablets, capsules, liquids, syrups, creams, lotions, gels, eye drops, and nasal sprays.
Adrenaline is an effective treatment for more severe allergic symptoms, such as anaphylaxis.
People who have had severe allergic reactions should always carry an epinephrine auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, EpiPen Jr., Twinject, or Auvi-Q.
When need to see a doctor
If you think you or your child may have a food allergy, it is critical that you seek a professional diagnosis from your doctor. If necessary, they will refer you to an allergy clinic.
Many parents mistakenly believe their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are caused by something entirely different.
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek immediate medical attention:
- Airway constriction makes breathing difficult.
- Shock accompanied by a significant drop in blood pressure.
- Lightheadedness or dizziness.
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Reference: FDA, NHS, Medical News Today.