A food allergy occurs when your immune system starts to overreact to eating certain food items. Food allergies are more common among children in comparison to adults.
But before going in deep let us first understand what an allergy is? What does it mean?
Allergy is a state of your body when the defense system of the body starts to react in an unfavorable manner causing discomfort able situations. It can be easily managed but its symptoms can create difficulties for you. What actually happens in an allergy is, defense system of our body takes a particular substance’s intake as an invader and acts in a way, which destroys it by releasing certain chemicals. The chemicals eventually create unfavorable symptoms.
The function of a body’s immune system is to keep you healthy by fighting against everything that might be dangerous to you.
When it comes to children the most common food that can cause food allergies are-
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These foods can create discomfort for them. Children can also develop food allergies by eating eggs; it has been found that many children who eat eggs tend to develop an allergy to it.
For adults the foods causing allergies are-
- Fish and shellfish
- Certain fruits
An important thing that one must keep in mind is that there may be certain food items that suited you well in the past. But the same food can cause you trouble in present. There also exists a cross relative food allergy, which means if you are allergic to a certain food item you might be also allergic to another food item of the same kind. For example, if one is allergic to peanuts he/she may also be allergic to certain other nuts as well.
Symptoms of food allergy can sometimes be very mild and you won’t feel any discomfort while some can be very severe and can bother you greatly.
Allergies can be genetic also. It is quite tough to guess if a food allergy will be inherited to the children from the parents. Siblings might also have the same food allergies but you can’t really predict it. Research has shown that if a generation has a food allergy, there are chances that future generations may also have the same allergy.
Symptoms of food allergy can trigger different parts of your body it may be skin, respiratory tract, sometimes intestinal regions etc. Symptoms which are most common in food allergies are-
- A cough
- Breathing problems
- Stomach cramps
- Pale or blue skin color
- Swelling of tongue
You may start noticing the symptoms within 2 to 3 hours after eating particular food items. Sometimes the symptoms are noticeable within a few minutes also. Reactions which take a lot of time are usually witnessed in children. It is not compulsory if you are experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms and you have a food allergy. The symptoms of food allergy can also resemble other diseases. It is only after certain tests, that one can be sure about being a food allergic.
Symptoms of food allergy can be mild as well as life-threatening. Some symptoms are easily manageable whereas few are very severe but its severity is totally unpredictable. People who had experienced mild symptoms can develop extremely dangerous symptoms which can be life-threatening. It can be breathing issues, blood pressure or fluctuations in anaphylaxis. There is no defining symptoms or reactions if you’re food allergic.
Food allergies tend to appear during childhood while few experience it at a higher age. Find a good allergist who will analyze your situation and also study the history of your family, conduct necessary tests and only then, will determine if you have a food allergy or not.
Many factors contribute to the diagnosis of food allergy like, the quantity that you ate, the symptoms that you experienced and their duration as well.
There are two kinds of tests that the allergist will conduct –
A tiny amount of food allergen which is contained in a liquid is placed on arm or back. It is not a painful test. If you develop a wheel where the allergen was placed then the test is positive. This test takes up to 20 minutes to show the results.
This test calculates the amount of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody for a food which is to be tested. It takes about a week to give results.
The best way of managing a food allergy is avoiding the triggered food which is creating problems for you. You must know very well about those products which bother you. Always check the ingredients of the food product carefully before consuming it and do make sure that food won’t cause you any trouble. You must carefully check for the food allergens present in the food product that you are going to consume. Reactions in a food allergy appear every time the triggered food is eaten. There is a possibility of different symptoms each time the reaction takes place. You should consult your allergist and must know what food products are safe to you, and what you shouldn’t eat.
- Try to avoid eating outside as it is neither hygienic nor do you know about the ingredients that they have used while cooking. Homemade food is the best for your health and will keep you away from a lot of diseases.
- Maintain a hygienic environment near yourself as it will help you in keeping yourself away from the allergens that will cause food allergies.
- If symptoms get serious consult an allergist as soon as possible and try to avoid that allergy-causing food as it is the best way to manage food allergy.
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Article Credits: Hafsa Zamindar | Mumbai | India