Food allergy happens when your body reacts to certain foods you eat. It tries to flush the food out through diarrhea or through your skin. When your body mistakenly sees the food you eat as a threat, food allergy symptoms set in. But you can also manifest similar symptoms due to food intolerance. This is not fatal but it can be a real nuisance. Some allergic reactions, on the other hand, can be serious and deadly but they can be arrested if someone is quick enough to administer emergency relief like epinephrine or take the sufferer to an allergy doctor for immediate treatment.
Who are potential sufferers of food allergy?
Genetics play a big role in allergy. If one or both your parents have food allergies, you are more likely to have it too.
Food allergies are common in children. But many of them outgrow the disorder as their bodies learn to adapt to the triggers over time. People who develop allergy as adults may have it for the rest of their lives. It would therefore be prudent for these individuals to have their health monitored by an allergy doctor.
Many people mistake food intolerance for allergy. These two can have similar symptoms but they are two different things that are treated differently. Food intolerance refers to the body’s inability to process certain foods. It can cause discomfort but it is not life-threatening. Doctors who treat food intolerance are called gastroenterologists. Food allergy on the other hand, refers to the reaction of the immune system to certain foods you eat. The physician who specialize in the treatment of this condition is called an allergist or allergy doctor.
What are the symptoms of food allergy?
Food allergy can trigger a lot of symptoms. If some of the foods you eat compromise your immune system, you will most likely manifest these signs:
Tingling sensation in the mouth
Swelling of the lips
Shortness of breath
Low blood pressure
Hives or skin rashes
Food allergy usually manifests similar symptoms both in children and adults. But for some children who are allergic to milk or soya, some symptoms can be a bit different. This includes eczema, diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stool and constipation.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction which can be life-threatening. It can happen within minutes to a few hours after a person ingests foods that can cause allergy. Some of the known triggers of anaphylaxis include peanuts and sea foods like shrimp, squid and shellfish. Exercise, alcohol and aspirin are also possible triggers of this severe allergic reaction. When this happens to anyone, you should call an allergy doctor at once.
Who are at risk of developing anaphylaxis?
Thankfully, anaphylaxis is not for everyone. But some people are highly prone to it than others. It can expose you to these risks especially if allergy or asthma runs in your family.
To be able to properly address anyphylaxis, you should educate yourself about it. One way to gain knowledge about it is to view food allergy video materials and take notes of important points. This will make you learn ways to manage the disorder even if you haven’t experienced food allergy before.
If after a a meal you notice severe allergic reactions that include rapid swelling of the tongue, wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting or nausea, you should seek medical help at once. If you already know you are at risk of having anaphylaxis, you should bring epinephrine auto injector at all times. It can give you relief and time to seek professional help.
photo credit for featured image: Nikki Tysoe (flickr.com)
Lori is a corporate consultant whose experience and area of expertise are on fund administration, debt collection, wealth management and personnel administration. He likes to share his insights about business corporate solutions, sustainability & management, and a lot of human interest stories including health, wellness and self-improvement .