You are definitely not unfamiliar with the notion ‘food allergy’. It is an exaggerated response of body to a specific food substance.
What causes food allergy?
When you consume a specific food product, your body’s defense system, by mistake identifies it as a harmful substance (allergen). As a result, IgE antibodies are formed to encounter and neutralize the allergen. If you take the same substance again even in very small quantity, it could lead to a life threatening allergic reaction.
To which foods it is common to have allergy?
The major food allergens include the following:-
- Shell fishes
- Cow’s Milk
What are the risk factors for food allergy?
Risk factors include:-
Infants and toddlers are more prone to have this. It is because their gastrointestinal system is not very well developed to hinder the absorption of problematic food.
- Family history
Those who have a family history of allergies or food allergy are more prone to suffer from this ailment.
- History of other allergies
If you are allergic to some other substances, then it is more likely that you can be allergic to certain edibles as well.
Asthma and food allergies often co-exist. Moreover, the symptoms of both are exaggerated in the presence of each other.
How food allergy is manifested?
If you are allergic to a food substance, you will have following symptoms and signs after its consumption:
- Itching or tingling inside the mouth, throat and ears.
- Formation of red patches on skin that itch.
- Bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- In severe cases, swelling on lips and inside the throat.
- Drowsiness or fainting in extreme cases.
- Whistling sound in the chest and difficulty in breathing.
When to seek medical help?
If you feel the above mentioned symptoms after consuming a food, see your doctor without any delay.
How food allergy is diagnosed?
This is achieved through a blood test through which the levels of antibody IgE are measured in your blood in response to particular foods.
How to treat food allergy?
Depending upon the severity of the reaction, following medicines are used.
- Antihistamines also known as anti-allergy medicines for mild to moderate illness.
- Adrenaline, a life-saving drug, for severe reactions.
What are the complications of food allergy?
These can range from mild eczema to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is the extreme form of reaction that lead to death if not treated on time.
How to prevent food allergies?
- During weaning, it is not known whether or not a child is allergic to a specific substance. So, mothers are supposed to adopt a stepwise approach to identify this. New medical guidelines recommend the introduction of peanuts and eggs around the age of 6 months.
There is no cure for food allergies so prevention is best.