Food allergies affect alarge portion of the world, more than 50 million Americans have some sort ofallergy to something. It is estimated that food allergies affect about four tosix percent of children while in adults it’s about four percent. Food allergiesare generally found in children and infants, but they could also appear at anyage. There is the potential for you to develop an allergy for something thatyou otherwise have eaten before.
A food allergy is a medical condition in whichthe body’s exposure to a certain food causes a harmful response from the immunesystem. It has been reported that over 170 different types of foods have causedfood allergies. Though there is generally eight foods that typicallyresponsible for these reactions, they are cow’s milk, eggs, fish, crustaceanshellfish, tree nuts, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. The symptoms to a food allergycan range anywhere from mild to severely life threatening. Some symptoms thatmay come from a food allergy, be it anywhere from ingestion or skin contact,the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, or the cardiovascular tract,may be vomiting/ stomach cramps, hives, wheezing, consistent cough, tighthoarse throat; troubling swallowing, and swelling of the tongue; this couldpotentially affect the person’s ability to speak or breathe, a weak pulse,dizziness or feeling of fainting. Then there is the most dangerous and life threateningreaction, anaphylaxis, it’s a potential life-threatening reaction that couldsend the body into shock and if not treated immediately can cause the person togo into a coma or die. To treat this, it is important to immediately dial 911first and if the person having the allergy has an EpiPen this containsepinephrine which can help by opening the airway making it easier to breath,and it narrows the blood vessels to combat low blood pressure.
For a lower and milderreactions you could use an antihistamine to help relieve your symptoms. For prevention, it is always best to knowwhat you are allergic to and this could be done in multiple ways with the helpfrom an allergist. For example, there is the skin prick test which requires theallergist to place different types of common allergens on, typically, your backarm. They proceed to scratch the area with the allergen with a needle or problem,allowing the allergen to slightly sink into the surface of skin. Skin pricktest are inexpensive, and produce quick results in the form of a wheal. Thereis also blood testing which uses immunoglobulin E antibodies to find whattriggers allergies, the results generally take a few days for it to be ready butproduce very accurate results. It is always good to know what you are eatingand what is in your food, be sure to read all labels carefully, and if you havehad a bad reaction before it is best to carry an epinephrine pen that can beprescribed by your doctor, carefully plan your meals and be aware when eating atrestaurants.
There is no cure to allergies and can only be contained byplanning and always being aware of what and where you go out to eat.