Food allergy happens when your body reacts to certain foods you eat by trying to flush it out through diarrhea or through your skin. When your body mistakes the food you take as a threat to your health, food allergy symptoms set in. Most reactions are not dangerous but they 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 such as epinephrine or take the sufferer to an allergy doctor immediately for treatment.
Who are potential sufferers of food allergy?
Genetics play a big role in the allergy story. 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 the disorder as adults may have it for the rest of their lives.
Many people make a mistake of taking food intolerance as allergy. These two can have similar symptoms but they are two different things that are treated in different ways. Food intolerance refers to the body’s inability to process certain foods. It can cause some discomfort but it is not life-threatening. Food allergy on the other hand, refers to the reaction of the immune system to certain foods that you eat. It can be dangerous when it becomes too severe especially when anaphylaxis takes place.
What are the symptoms of food allergy?
Food allergy can trigger a lot of symptoms. If you eat certain foods and your immune system mistakes them as a threat, these symptoms are likely to appear:
Tingling sensation in the mouth
Swelling of the lips
Wheezing or shortness of breath
Stomach upset or stomach cramps
Dropping of blood pressure
Appearance of hives or skin rashes
Food allergy usually manifests the same symptoms in both children and adults. But for some children who are allergic to milk or soya, symptoms can include eczema, diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stool and constipation.
When an allergy becomes severe, anaphylaxis can happen which can be life-threatening. This condition can take place within minutes to a few hours after a person eats certain foods he or she is allergic to. 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 severe allergic reactions.
Who are at risk of developing anaphylaxis?
Thankfully, anaphylaxis is not for everyone, but some people have higher disk of developing this condition than others. Since it is associated with food allergy, your risk for experiencing it is high if allergy runs in your family. You can also have higher chances of suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions if you have asthma.
If after eating, you notice severe allergic reactions are starting to develop such as rapid swelling of the tongue, wheezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting or nausea, you should seek medical help at once. If you have not experienced food allergy before, you should educate yourself about it in order to get sufficient knowledge on how to manage the disorder. One way to collect reliable information about it is by viewing food allergy video materials and taking notes of important points discussed. 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 give you 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 .