Introduction to Food Allergies
What are Food Allergies?
Food allergies refer to the adverse reaction that can be caused by consuming certain foods. It is a medical condition that can cause discomfort and even death if no intervention is taken.
Food allergies have only come to the fore in the past few decades with more scientific research on the matter. Food allergies occur where the body views a certain food as a harmful element that can adversely impact the body and therefore reacts defensively.
Interestingly, allergies can develop from foods that an individual has eaten in the past and can stop just as suddenly as they start.
If you think that you may have an allergy to a certain food item, then you can benefit from this informative article. The primary cause of the food allergies would be the foods that trigger these immune responses in the body.
Types of Food Allergies
The types of allergic reactions are categorized according to the types of food that individuals have adverse reactions. This list includes the most common types of allergies that face the modern society as well as who they are likely to affect.
- Milk allergies: Allergies to milk and milk products such as cheeses, yogurt and even ice cream can limit your ability to enjoy many delicious foods. This is a very common food allergy for young children under the age of three years. The allergy can be caused by the negative response to milk proteins which include casein and whey. This is completely different from lactose intolerance as the latter actually involves an inability to digest the sugars in the milk.
- Corn allergies: These allergies affect individuals who are sensitive to corn-based foods and are one of the more difficult allergies to diagnose. This is made even more dangerous by the fact that corn is not legally required to be included as a listed ingredient.
- Egg allergies: This is another common allergy among children and adults. The allergy stems from having a bad reaction to egg whites or albumen. This is another allergy that can suddenly disappear when a child grows up.
- Nut allergies: This is a negative response to the consumption of any type of nut. It can be a bad reaction to macadamia nuts, peanuts, cashew nuts or even Brazilian nuts. The most common is the peanut allergy which has been known to cause severe reactions in the body.
- Fish and shellfish allergies: These are allergies that affect an individual if they consume any type of fish or shellfish. There is, however, a distinction between the two types of allergies. Shellfish can include lobster, crabs and prawns while fish includes all other fish variations. Fish allergies can be due to a bad reaction to fish gelatin.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
There are some universal symptoms that are present even with the different types of food allergies. These include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Rashes and skin problems.
- Nausea and indigestion.
- Swelling of the throat.
- Swelling of body parts such as swelling on the face.
- Stomach pain
- This is the most serious symptom of food allergies and can limit the individuals’ ability to breathe by causing a severe body reaction to a certain product. If an individual is particularly sensitive to the food item, they go into anaphylactic shock and even die.
The main treatment options are to avoid consuming the trigger foods that cause these allergic reactions. If you notice some of the symptoms listed above after consuming a particular food product, then you must contact a medical professional for proper testing. Tests such as the prick tests are used to determine which food item and in specific which nutrient actually causes the negative reaction in the body.
There are medications called antihistamines that can help you control the food allergies that affect you. When your body comes into contact with the trigger food, histamines are produced causing the symptoms detailed in the previous section. Anti-histamines block the development of histamines and therefore stop the allergic reaction.
The other medication that is crucial for people with food allergies is epinephrine which is used in case of accidental exposure to trigger foods. This is the most important form of food allergy medication as it stops the swelling of the throat and raises the blood pressure of the individual.
By reversing these allergic reactions, the individual can be saved from death or permanent damage.
Protecting Yourself from Food Allergies
The first step to protecting yourself is to understand exactly what type of allergy you have and its extent of severity.
The next step is to remain very vigilant with what you eat. Always be aware of what you are consuming in terms of the ingredients and all products within the food. This also applies to when you go out for meals.
You must inform the chef or cooks of your food allergies and assert the importance of eliminating these elements in your meal.
In addition, you should always carry your food allergy medication including antihistamines and epinephrine in the event of accidental exposure to a trigger food.
From all the information provided in the article, it is evident that food allergies can have some severe reactions in the human body.
You must ensure to remain alert to ensure that you do not consume any of the trigger foods to avoid any severe reactions.