Allergy Food :- Symptom, Cause, Test, Diagnosis, Prevention, Treatment and General Home Care of Allergy Food
A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies to it. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system
It can be a serious condition and should be diagnosed by a board-certified allergist. A true food allergy (also called "food hypersensitivity") and its symptoms can take many forms
Food allergies differ from other allergies because even a minuscule amount of the wrong food can be fatal. Dangerous trace amounts of the offending food in poorly labeled processed foods, on cross-contaminated utensils and carried on the hands of others pose a constant threat to those battling food allergies.
Although about 25% of people believe they have a food allergy, only about 2.5% of adults and about 6-8% of children, mainly younger than 6 years, have true food allergies. The rest have what is known as food intolerance-an undesirable reaction to a food that does not involve the immune system
Allergies to food can be mild, like a little tingling in the mouth, but for many people they can be severe - causing difficulty breathing, for example - and even dangerous. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with food allergies can make a big difference in preventing serious illness.
Allergy Food Symptom
The first symptom of an allergic reaction to food is often itching and swelling in the mouth, tongue and throat. You may also get some or all of the following symptoms:
Skin reactions, such as swelling and itching, eczema and flushing
Vomiting and diarrhoea
Swelling of the lips
An allergic reaction to food usually happens quickly - typically within an hour of eating the trigger food and sometimes almost immediately. A severe, whole-body allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, or an anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is a rare but potentially fatal allergic reaction.
Allergy Cause Food
The cause of food allergies is not fully understood, because they can produce such a variety of symptoms. Reactions to foods may vary from mild to fatal.
While many people have a food intolerance, food allergies are less common. In a true food allergy, the immune system produces antibodies and histamine in response to the specific food.
Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but a few foods are the main culprits. In children, the most common food allergies are to:
Shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, snails, clams)
Fortunately, many children will outgrow their allergy to milk, egg, wheat, and soy by the time they are five years old if they avoid the offending foods when they are young.
Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish tend to be lifelong.
In older children and adults, the most common food allergies are:
Most people's symptoms are caused by intolerances to foods such as:
Wheat and other gluten-containing grains
Cow's milk and dairy products
A food allergy frequently starts in childhood, but it can begin at any age.
Allergy Food Test / Diagnosis
Doctors use three basic methods to diagnose whether a person has a food allergy:
Skin test . This test involves placing liquid extracts of different foods on a person's forearm or back and pricking the skin a tiny bit so the food being tested enters the body. If a reddish raised spot forms, this indicates an allergic reaction. If your doctor wants you to take a skin test, you may need to stop taking anti-allergy medications 2 to 3 days before the skin test because they can interfere with the results. Cold medications and some antidepressants may also affect skin testing.
Elimination diet . With this method, suspicious foods are removed temporarily from your regular diet. Then they are slowly reintroduced one at a time.
Rast test . In this test, a sample of blood is drawn and sent to a lab where it is mixed with some of the suspected allergen. If antibodies to the food are found, you have an allergy.
If the results of these tests are still unclear, a type of test called a food challenge may be needed for final diagnosis (this test is done only in certain cases).
Allergy Food Prevention
Learn to read food labels carefully and know which ingredients you should avoid.
When eating in restaurants, ask what ingredients are in foods you would like to order.
Avoid foods whose ingredients you can't confirm.
Work with a registered dietitian to plan safe menus.
Check into special food-allergy cookbooks and groups such as the Food Allergy that deal with issues specific to food allergies.
Allergy Food Treatment
The only proven treatment for a food allergy is to avoid the food. Once a patient and doctor have identified the food to which the patient is sensitive, the food must be removed from the patient's diet. To do this, patients must read lengthy, detailed ingredient lists on each food they are considering eating.Many allergy-producing foods -- such as peanuts, eggs, and milk -- appear in foods one normally would not associate them with. Peanuts, for example, are often used as a protein source and eggs are used in some salad dressings
General Home Care Allergy Food
Avoid bleached flours, and everything made with it.
Avoid all processed foods, including the frozen pre-packaged types.
Be especially vigilant in your selection of meat products, and avoid the processed varities, as many commercially grown animals are exposed to high levels of perticides, antibiotics, steroids and questionable dietary sources.
Thoroughly wash all fresh fruits and vegetables in warm water adding a few drops of a quality dish soap. Rinse well.
Eat whole foods, and prepare your meals at home using fresh, natural products. Concentrate your diet on a large variety of items, avoiding heavy consumption of saturates primarily found in red meats.
Establish an eating schedule. Know which combination of food groups go well together.
Avoid smoking and heavy alcohol consumption. Heavy coffee consumption is to be avoided (1 or 2 regular cups per day is not considered harmful)
Avoid fried foods and foods cooked in oil. When oil is heated to cooking temperatures it begins to break down and has been identified as a carcinogen. Sauté your vegetables in broth, beer, water or white wine.
Routinely practice under-eating.
Incorporate into your daily routine a regiment of moderate exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming and strive to live in harmonious surroundings that contribute to inner peace.
It is important for food-allergic people to carefully read food labels.
Call The Doctor Now
See a doctor or allergist if you experience food allergy symptoms shortly after eating. If possible, see your doctor when the allergic reaction is occurring. This will aid in making a diagnosis.
Seek emergency treatment if you develop any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis.
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