HomeHealthFood allergy: what is it and what is the best treatment to treat it
Food allergy: what is it and what is the best treatment to treat it
September 14, 2020
To certain people they can generate some food allergies. And this is a very common condition, which generally has to do with genetics. It means that people who suffer from food allergy, are more predisposed at the genetic level.
Currently, this problem affects adults more than anything, but it also manifests itself in children. In addition, it happens that allergies can be confused with intolerance, and it is important to know that they are two different conditions.
What is a food allergy about?
The food allergy It is a reaction by the immune system, which occurs shortly after eating a specific food. A fairly small amount of that food is more than enough to cause allergies. Some of the symptoms that occur in this condition have to do with hives, or even with inflammations.
There are people who suffer from allergies who experience much more serious symptoms, which can even be life-threatening, if they do not act as quickly as possible. It is estimated that these Food AllergyThey occur in 8% of children under 3 years of age, and 3% in adults. Although it is a condition that has no cure so far, most children outgrow the allergy as they grow up.
As already mentioned, it is quite easy to confuse cases of allergy with other reactions, such as food intolerance. Although it is a rather annoying disease, intolerance is not so serious and the immune system is not involved, this being a huge difference with respect to allergy, which must be taken into account.
Food allergy symptoms
For certain people, experiencing allergic reactions to food might not be so serious. But for others, allergic reactions to food can be life-threatening. Symptoms of this condition usually occur a few minutes after, or even an hour after eating the food.
Among the most common symptoms in an allergic reaction to food are:
– Tingling in the mouth or itching.
– Eczema, hives or itching.
– Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat and any other part of the body.
– Sound similar to a whistle that is generated when breathing, trouble breathing or nasal congestion.
– Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or even abdominal pain.
– Dizziness, fainting or lightheadedness.
People who suffer from food allergy, they may experience a fairly serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. When this happens, symptoms appear that represent a risk to the person's life. Some of these symptoms are:
– The airways narrow and you experience a tightness in the chest.
– The throat becomes inflamed, or there is a sensation of having a lump in the middle of the throat, thus making it difficult to breathe.
– Shock accompanied by a serious drop in blood pressure.
– Acceleration of the pulse.
– Lightheadedness, dizziness and finally loss of consciousness.
In the event of anaphylaxis, emergency treatment will be essential. If the problem is not treated, the person could go into a coma or die.
At what point should an expert be consulted?
Consult with the doctor or in its difference with the allergist, in case of experiencing symptoms of food allergy imminently after eating. If you have the possibility, you should consult with the specialist, as soon as the allergic reaction is experienced. Which will be of great help to make a good diagnosis.
What foods cause allergies?
When you have food allergy, the immune system mistakenly identifies a certain food, or some substance as harmful. As a defensive response, the immune system causes antibodies to be released. These, which are known as immunoglobulin, neutralize the substance or food, which causes the allergy.
The next time that specific food is consumed, the antibodies will take care of detecting it. Instructing the immune system to release histamine into the bloodstream, as well as other substances.
– Some proteins cause allergies in adults and are the following:
– Seafood as in the case of shrimp, crab and lobster.
– Any kind of peanuts.
– Other varieties of nuts such as walnuts.
– Certain proteins found in the foods mentioned below, generate food allergies in children:
– Dairy products
It is a syndrome that is also called a pollen and food allergy. This syndrome affects a large number of people, who also suffer from allergic rhinitis. Within this disease, some vegetables, fruits, nuts, and certain spices, trigger allergic reactions. Causing the appearance of an annoying tingling in the mouth or itching. If the case is too severe, this is a reaction that turns into a sore throat, or anaphylaxis.
The proteins found in these foods cause allergic reactions, because they are very similar to those found in certain types of pollen. This being a clear example of what is known as cross reactivity.
Cooking all those foods that generate an allergy to pollen could reduce the most serious symptoms.
Physical activity-induced food allergy
There are foods that cause certain people to feel lightheaded or itchy, moments after starting some physical activity. If the allergy is very severe, it could cause hives and also anaphylaxis. Not eating food for at least two hours before doing any physical activity helps to control and prevent this problem.
How to prevent a food allergy?
Introducing some products that contain peanuts at an early age is related to having a lower probability of developing a peanut allergy. However, it is always good to consult a specialist before children eat allergenic foods. This will provide more information about the most appropriate way to introduce them.
However, when food allergies have already manifested, it will be better to prevent these reactions by avoiding those foods. For some people, a factor like this is quite problematic, although for others it is something of little importance. Apart from this, there are foods that are used within the ingredients of certain preparations. And it becomes a big inconvenience when visiting some restaurants, and participating in social events.
Factors that represent a risk in food allergy
Risk factors within the food allergy are as follows:
Age. Food allergy tends to occur more often in children, especially young children and babies. As growth progresses, the digestive system matures. And it is highly unlikely that allergy-causing foods are absorbed into the body.
Family background. They are people who have a higher risk of suffering from food allergies. Since some family members suffer from asthma, hives, eczema, or have allergic rhinitis.
Asthma. It is very common for food allergies and asthma to appear at the same time. In some cases, it is possible that these asthma and allergy symptoms turn into a serious condition.
Other allergies When you are already allergic to some food, there is a greater risk of allergy to other foods. Similarly, if other types of reactions appear, such as allergic rhinitis or eczema, there is a higher risk of suffering Food Allergy.
Other factors that could increase the risk of experiencing serious reactions such as anaphylaxis are:
Having a history such as asthma.
Being a teenager or a child.
Delay the administration of epinephrine for the treatment of the most severe symptoms in the food allergy.
That hives or any other symptom that is related to the skin does not appear.
How is the diagnosis of food allergy?
Currently, there is no definitive test to confirm or rule out a food allergy. The doctor will be the one who considers certain factors to determine the diagnosis. Among the factors that are taken into account are:
Symptoms: It is necessary for the specialist to know in detail the history of the symptoms. Either the food, or the amount of them that generates inconvenience.
Family history allergy: This is very important information that the doctor has to know, since it depends on whether the reactions are more serious or not.
Physical exploration: Tests will be done to help determine the existence of any other medical problems.
Skin tests: Skin prick tests could identify a reaction to a specific food. The test consists of placing an amount of the suspect food on the skin of the affected person. The skin will then be pricked using a needle to get the substance under the skin.
Being allergic to such food, a lump will form or a reaction will appear. Although it should be borne in mind that having a positive reaction using this test will not be sufficient to determine the existence of allergy.
Blood test: Performing blood tests are used to determine how the immune system responds to certain foods.
Elimination of foods in the diet: The doctor will probably order the elimination of some foods in the diet. A procedure like this is very helpful in relating symptoms to certain substances. Unfortunately, this is a method that doesn't always work.
Oral provocation using food: It is usually done within the doctor's office, where very small amounts of the suspect food are administered. Causing allergy-related symptoms, which should increase in no time. When you do not have a reaction through a test like this, the food can be incorporated into the diet without problems.
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Treatment for food allergy
Although a great effort is made to avoid consuming foods that cause allergies, some contact can always occur.
If the allergic reaction experienced is minor, prescription antihistamines are given that lessen these symptoms. This class of medications can be taken after exposure to the food that caused the allergy. But they are not drugs that help lessen severe allergy symptoms.
When a more serious allergic reaction occurs, it is most likely that you will go to the emergency room, where the epinephrine injection will be administered. There are people who constantly carry an autoinjector containing epinephrine. A device like this consists of a syringe, and a needle that delivers only one dose of this drug, when pressed against the thigh.
When the specialist has recommended the use of an injector, it is necessary to do the following:
Make sure you know exactly how an injector is used. Similarly, family members and close people should also know how to use it. Since when an emergency occurs, these people could be of great help, to save the life of the affected person.
Carry the injector at all times. It may be an excellent idea to take the injector anywhere, or to have an additional one in the most frequented places.
Replace epinephrine before expiration. Otherwise, the injector will not work properly.