Contributed by– Healthians Team
Do you suffer from any food allergies? Well, you are not alone, food allergies are really common problem. An increase in the cases of food allergy and lactose intolerance has been witnessed, making this problem much more sensitive.
For a lot of people, food allergy is the harsh reality that they live with everyday. Food allergies can take an ugly turn several times. Food allergies often make eating out, travelling, going to parties difficult. The way to stay safe from food allergies is to avoid foods which you’re allergic to. It is best to stay aware of your allergies to avoid any accidents.
Let us read and try to understand food allergies and how to deal with them.
What Is Food Allergy?
Food allergy is a condition where a particular food or component of that food triggers a wrong response from the immune system resulting in an allergic reaction. In such cases, the immune system gives abnormal reactions or autoimmune response towards that particular food.
Food allergies are very common in children and less common in grown up adults. The abnormal response or allergic reaction can be identified with:
- Swelling of the face, lips or tongue
- Difficulty in breathing
- Itchy rash
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
The allergic reaction often takes place within a few minutes of consuming an allergic food item. Common food items that can cause allergies such as milk, peanut, soy, eggs, wheat, and nuts that grow on trees like almonds and cashew, seafood like prawns, shrimps and squids, etc. Another type of food allergy occurs due to the things that are added to the food.
How Do You Deal With An Allergic Reaction?
It is best to know how to tackle allergic reactions, you never know when it can come in handy. Being prepared helps stay alert and prompt in case of emergencies. Most food reactions are not that severe and can be dealt with anti-allergic or antihistamines. But, in case of severe swelling or breathing distress, it is best to rush to the hospital.
It is always wise to see your doctor after an allergic reaction to seek proper medical care. Do not forget to keep a note of your allergic reactions and carry your anti-allergic kit with you. Even a small bite of allergic food can have awful consequences. Always make sure to check the ingredients before consuming anything to protect yourself.
Why food allergies can be harmful?
Unlike food intolerance, food allergies can be very dangerous because they can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Even a small amount of food can cause a reaction in someone who is allergic. The person doesn’t have to even eat those foods that cause a reaction; even inhalation of the steam from cooking an allergen can also trigger a reaction. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms like –
- Constriction and tightening of the airways
- A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
- Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
If someone undergoes the condition of anaphylaxis, it is critical to get treatment immediately else it can cause a coma or even death.
Are There Any Tests To Detect Food Allergies?
Yes, there are tests which can help identify the allergen. There are mainly three types of tests that include:
- Skin test – The suspected allergen is scratched on the skin and obvious allergic reactions like swelling, red patches called wheals are expected to show within 15mins to 30 mins.
- Allergy screening test- The allergy screening test measures the amount of antibodies made by the immune system to fight the allergens that you may come in contact with. Higher levels of antibodies in the blood can be a sign that your body is reacting to some allergens.
Depending upon the age of individual the test for allergies can be done. For small children, the test can be repeated every year if the allergen is not identified. While for grown ups the test can be done every 2-3 years. The time between two consecutive tests is called the resting time for the allergic reactions to subside.
Can Food Allergies Be Treated?
There has been immense research in this area, but no treatment has still been found. The only way to treat food allergies is to identify the allergic food item and remove it from your diet completely. That means if you are allergic to Egg then you would have to avoid all the food items that have egg in them. Even people who are cautious can make a mistake and may take those foods unknowingly. If you have a serious food allergy, you must be prepared to treat yourself in these situations.
Are Food Allergies Genetic?
Food allergies can be developed and even seen passing genetically in families. If both parents have some common food allergies the chances of their offspring having the same food allergy multiplies. Allergies can develop anytime in the life span of the individual. But, no individual is born with good allergies, they tend to develop it later in life.
Which Foods Can Help You Recover From Food Allergies?
Some foods act as natural agents that help you ease allergic reactions. Although, the effectiveness is based on individual’s response to the food. Some foods that have a soothing effect on allergic reactions are:
- Onion: The natural antihistaminic property of onion helps relax allergic symptoms.
- Citrus fruits: These fruits have an amazing quality of cutting down on the histamines and soothe the gut.
- Pineapple: An enzyme called Bromelain present in pineapple which reduces allergic reactions like breathlessness.
- Yoghurt or Chhach: Probiotics which are good bacteria for the gut. It soothes your digestion.
- Hot and Cold Soups: Spinach or garlic soups helps with a runny nose and watery eyes.
It is best to identify your allergies and stay miles away from those foods to stay healthy and avoid any allergic reactions.
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