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Food Allergy Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is food allergy?

Food allergy is the reaction of your immune system which occurs just after consuming a particular food. Eating even a little amount of food that causes allergy can actually trigger symptoms, for example swollen airways or digestive problems. In few individuals, such allergies can a raise serious reaction called anaphylaxis.

Around 3% of adults, whilst 9% of children below age 3 are affected by food allergy, as per a recent research. As there tend to be no cure for food allergy, few children actually outgrow their allergies while they turn older.

What are the symptoms of food allergy?

Particularly for few individuals, the allergic reaction to some specific food can cause discomfort though not severe. On the other hand, for other individuals, such reaction can get life-threatening. After consuming that offending food item, symptoms of food allergy mostly occur within some time. Symptoms include:

  • Itching or tingling in mouth.
  • Itching, eczema or hives.
  • Swelling of your throat, tongue, face, lips or some other body parts.
  • Breathing difficulties, nasal congestion or wheezing.
  • Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting.

What are the causes of food allergy?

In case you develop food allergy, then the immune system of your body wrongly indentifies a particular substance or food as something ‘dangerous’. Your immune system then activates your cells for releasing immunoglobulin E (antibodies) in order to neutralize that food substance or food. Next time, by consuming even a little amount of it, the antibodies tend to sense it; signaling the immune system in order to release histamine, (a chemical) plus other chemicals as well, into the bloodstream.

Such chemicals trigger numerous allergy symptoms. Furthermore, they are actually responsible to trigger allergic reactions which include itchy eyes, dripping nose, labored breathing, diarrhea, nausea, hives and rashes, dry throat and anaphylactic shock as well.

Mostly, the food allergies are caused by specific proteins in:

  • Peanuts.
  • Shellfish, for example lobster, shrimp and crab.
  • Fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Tree nuts, for example pecans and walnuts.

Particularly, in children, such food allergies are usually caused by proteins in:

  • Wheat.
  • Tree nuts.
  • Peanuts.
  • Milk.
  • Eggs.

What are the risk factors of food allergy?

Risk factors of food allergy include:

  • Young age (infants and toddlers).
  • Asthma.
  • Family history of allergies, hives, eczema or asthma.
  • Have other food allergies.
  • Had food allergy in the past.

What are the complications?

Complications include:

How is food allergy diagnosed?

Few things can help your doctor determine food allergy. They include:

  • Your symptoms.
  • Physical examination.
  • Skin prick test.
  • Elimination diet.
  • Blood test.
  • Oral food challenge.

How is food allergy treated?

You can simply avoid allergic reactions by avoiding that specific food which causes the symptoms. Moreover, for mild allergic reactions, prescribed antihistamines or over-the-counter can help reducing your symptoms. However, for allergic reaction that is severe, you will be needing epinephrine injection on emergency basis.


By : Natural Health News

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