Allergies are the outcome of the immune system responding to a particular allergen. It can happen while eating something that does not comply with your digestive system. Food allergies are very common and a person susceptible to such occurrences must know the reason behind them.
Eating food that causes allergy can lead to specific symptoms that depict an allergic reaction has been triggered by our body’s immunity system. In common cases, a person may suffer from redness of the skin, itching, hives, shortness of breath, etc. In severe cases, it can cause anaphylactic shocks. Anaphylaxis needs immediate medical attention. The occurrence of this symptom indicates a severe allergy to particular foods. A person should determine the cause and should avoid eating food containing such ingredients.
In some cases, people confuse food intolerance with allergies. For instance, a person can suffer from lactose intolerance causing stomach upset and gas formation. It is not an immunity-triggered reaction rather an intolerance shown by the digestive system when dairy products are consumed.
Different types of Most Common food allergies
It generally occurs in babies and toddlers aged 6 months. A specific type of allergen present in cow’s milk triggers an allergic reaction. It only affects less than 3% of the baby population. The problem seems to disappear in more than 90% of the cases when the babies grow up. Children and adults suffering from food allergy in cow milk will show symptoms within 5-20 minutes of its ingestion. Stomach swelling, hives, rashes, vomiting, and rarely anaphylaxis are witnessed.
It is one of the most common causes of allergy in children and adults. A person can be allergic to egg yolk, not the white portion or vice versa. If it is a selective case then that person can enjoy the safer portion of an egg without facing any discomfort or allergic reactions. It can trigger skin reactions, digestive distress, stomach ache, and respiratory issues.
Tree nuts, for example, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds, etc can trigger allergic reactions. It is also a very common food allergy affecting a very small percentage of the population. Food containing nuts can be dangerous for people who suffer from severe nut allergies. It can trigger anaphylaxis. The prime issue, in this case, is that a nut allergy can lead to the formation of allergies to other species of nuts too. This is why experts suggest avoiding all tree nuts to avoid suffering from such reactions in the future.
Peanut allergy is a common cause for children to suffer from allergic reactions and anaphylactic shocks. It can be potentially threatening for people and can be fatal if proper medical care is not given in due course of time. It can be transmitted genetically from parents. Peanut allergy can also indicate tree nut allergies. Avoiding products containing peanuts is mandatory.
Shellfish represents the mollusks and crustaceans we can consume such as prawns, shrimps, crayfish, lobster, crabs, scallops, squid, oyster, etc. In a nutshell, shellfish cause allergic reactions because of the presence of a particular strain of protein named tropomyosin. The symptoms are similar to those of allergies. Severe allergic reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock. In some cases, seafood is contaminated with bacteria or other parasites that can also trigger reactions. It needs to be thoroughly checked by diagnosing the symptoms to find out the difference.
The proteins found in the wheat grains can also cause allergic reactions. A study shows that in most cases, children suffering from wheat allergy outgrow it at the age of 10. This allergy can cause rashes, skin swelling, hives, digestive distress, etc.
Soy allergy can trigger tingling sensation in your mouth and cause digestive discomfort. In severe cases, it can result in an anaphylactic shock. Children are found to be susceptible to such allergies. 7 out of 10 children outgrow this allergy.
It has been found that adults can become allergic to fish in later years. 40% of those who are allergic to fish develop it later. It is similar to shellfish allergy as it is also triggered by the presence of a particular genre of protein. It can be some particular species of fish that cause an allergic reaction. Seeking a test to identify the cause is necessary.
Gluten-containing food can also trigger allergic reactions to sensitive individuals. Products made of barley, rye, oats, etc should be avoided in this case.
In some cases, corn and corn oil-containing food products can also trigger allergic reactions. The symptoms will be similar to that of any food allergy.
The mustard protein present in the seeds and oil can also trigger such reactions. It is very uncommon to witness mustard allergies.
Certain chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, caffeine, monosodium glutamate, aspartame, and certain preservatives added to food products can also be an allergen to some individuals.
Detection and treatment of food allergies
Diagnosis of food allergies is a must for those who have suffered an attack from eating something. The apt knowledge regarding allergies-causing food is very important for the wellbeing of a person.
The detection of food allergies is done by the following processes.
Skin prick test
This test provides results within 20 minutes of the procedure. An allergen is introduced in a very small amount using a sterile probe to check for any visible allergic reaction on the skin.
It is a comprehensive test done to diagnose the right profile of food allergies an individual has suffered from. The results are available within a week of testing.
Treatment and management of food allergies
Once you are aware of the food causing allergies, you will have to avoid them later on. Check labels mentioning the ingredients used to prepare packaged food. Be careful when you are eating outside. Make sure you ask proper information regarding the presence of any allergy-causing ingredient to the restaurant waiters.
During an anaphylactic shock, an adrenaline injection is pushed for instant relief. People suffering from food allergies are suggested to keep auto-injectors that introduce epinephrine/adrenaline to the system. On using an adrenaline dose, you will get instant relief from severe allergic symptoms. It is recommended to seek medical attention even if adrenaline injection has been used.