What allergies can do is strike us at any time, as millions of healthy individuals will suddenly be affected and reduced by a variety of different food choices. It’s unfortunately infants and children who faces the greatest risk, this once they’ve been introduced to new food types.
Although an allergy will and can develop at any time or age, this even for foods which were previously enjoyed without any issues. What the body has is a built-in mechanism to protect allergies from attacking the immune system, fighting off the offending reaction.
Food allergies can suddenly occur once your body reacts to a certain food or a particular substance in the food, which thinks it’s a threat to the body, this by developing a defense.
What this instantly triggers is an exaggerated immune response. The key becomes finding out what triggers your food allergies, and how you can prevent them.
Causes Of Food Allergies
What’s known is that certain food allergies can be hereditary in nature. A person who’s genetically predisposed to antibodies against certain foods, needs exposure to that particular food first.
What the digestion of that particular allergic food does is triggers the body to produce an antibody, which then stimulates the cells to release histamine. This allergic reaction is tissue specific to the exact point where the histamine was released.
Symptoms Of Food Allergies
If the mast cells which are in the throat, nose, or ears, the point where it happens to release histamine, then the symptoms can include swelling of the mouth or itching along with trouble breathing or swallowing.
If the histamine release is in the stomach or intestinal area, symptoms can include abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If the histamine release occurs on the skin in response to a certain food allergy, could result in skin rashes, hives, or eczema. Other symptoms includes wheezing and a drop in blood pressure.
Most Common Foods Which Causes Allergies
For children, the most common foods which can cause allergic reactions are peanuts, eggs, soy, and milk. What’s common is children can often outgrow their food allergies.
What’s known is that peanuts are the biggest culprits, as they’re responsible for up to 90% percent of all allergic reactions in adults, along with other tree nuts such as walnuts. What’s also common is eggs, dairy products, and shellfish.
Diagnosis Of Food Allergies
What medical personnel will use is a skin prick test, this to determine whether there’s a food allergy or not. A small sample of liquid which contains the allergen is injected in the top layer of the skin.
If a raised bump as a result develops, then the testing is positive for an allergy. Blood tests are less accurate.
Another test is to conduct an oral food digestion challenge. What this involves is eating small amounts of the suspect allergic trigger food to observe it’s reaction.
Food Allergy Treatment
The best treatment remains preventative maintenance by knowing what the suspected foods are, as these trigger foods need to be isolated and removed from the diet.
This includes closely reading food labels for items such as dairy, eggs, or nuts, which are present in most prepared foods. For those with severe food allergy sensitivity, even just minuscule traces can trigger a reaction.
Those who are sensitive to peanuts for instance, can have a severe reaction to just a 1/44,000 presence of a peanut kernel. Those who are dangerously allergic, should be wearing a Medic Alert bracelet.
Use Of Auto-Injectors
Epinephrine (adrenaline) is the most common drug that’s used to treat anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction towards certain foods which can prove fatal.
During anaphylaxis, the blood pressure of the food allergy sufferer can suddenly drop dramatically, and can go into shock. Their breathing airway can swell up and seal, which leads to asphyxiation.
The auto-injector then needs to be administered immediately, this because a severe reaction to a food allergy can suddenly occur within minutes once the individual is exposed to the allergen.
An epi-pen is the required antidote that’s in an auto injector. It’s usually injected directly into a large muscle such as the thigh, as this is the fastest absorption point for maximum effect.
Treating Children With Food Allergies
Any type of food allergy can prove fatal, especially if it occurs outside of the home. So it becomes vitally important for parents to notify the child’s daycare providers, schools, and social events such as birthday parties, that their child has a food allergy.
Information should be provided if a child has an auto-injector. Children who are allergic should never share food with others, which may trigger a reaction, especially in public places. Kids should also be taught on how to use their antidote auto-injector.
Careful When Eating Out
Those with food allergies need to be extremely careful when they’re eating out. At times, just even the odor of certain foods can set off an allergic reaction.
The servers in restaurants are usually not that knowledgeable of the exact ingredients which are in every dish, so be overly careful.
What you should be doing is advising your server that you’re allergic to certain foods, or even ask to speak to the chef before ordering. Always carry your auto-injector with you just in case.
How To Prevent Food Allergies
What science doesn’t provide is evidence that certain foods allergies can be prevented. There is solid proof however, that feeding a variety of solid foods to infants before they’re 17 months of age, makes them more susceptible of developing certain allergies.
What’s recommended by most experts is to wait until the child reaches 3 years or older, to introduce them to the known high-risk allergen foods, such as peanuts and seafood.