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Food Allergy


Food allergy is an allergic reaction to any normal harmless food or food ingredients. Any one kind of food can contain multiple food allergens. Typically, this is much less common and proteins - fats and carbohydrates. In allergy the immune system produces antibodies in excess of the norm, thus making the body is so reactive that it perceives a harmless protein as if it were an infectious agent. If the immune system is not involved in the process, it is not a food Allergy and food intolerance.

A true food allergy is rare (less than two percent of the population). The most common cause of it is heredity. Pediatric Allergy is usually manifested in the first years of life (often to the egg whites), and then they "outgrow" it. Among adults who believe that they have a food allergy, about 80% actually have a condition that experts have dubbed "food pseudoallergy." Although the symptoms that occur in them, similar to those that come with a true food allergy, the reason may lie in a simple food intolerance. Moreover, some people may develop psychosomatic reactions to food because they believe it is their allergen.

Causes of food allergy

A child, one of whose parents is allergic, has a risk of developing allergies is two times larger than the one whose parents are not allergic. If both parents are allergic, the risk of development of the child increases even doubled, and thus becomes four times. However, substances that are allergens child may differ from the parents allergen.

Despite the fact that allergies can develop almost any kind of food is the most common allergens milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and nuts, especially peanuts.

There is also a cross-allergy, which develops after a reaction to any one allergen. Thus, people allergic to peanuts and may be allergic to other legumes, including peas, soybeans, lentils. Also, patients who are allergic to cantaloupe may eventually develop a reaction to the cucumbers, and squash, and just allergic to shrimp become sensitive to crabs.

Some people develop allergic to sulfites - chemicals used to preserve the color of the food, such as dried fruit and vegetables. The reaction to them includes shortness of breath, or allergic shock after eating food containing sulfites. Sulfites can also cause severe asthma attacks.

Symptoms of food allergies

Allergic reactions are typically developed in a period of from several minutes to two hours after a meal. But in patients with severe allergies, just a touch or smell of food can cause an allergic response.

Typical early symptoms include swelling and itching of the lips, mouth and/or throat.
Once in the digestive system, irritating foods can cause nausea, vomiting, intestinal colic and diarrhea.

Often starts itching, hives, eczema, redness of the skin.

Some patients with food can cause allergic rhinitis, for which the typical runny nose, cough and shallow breathing.

It may occasionally be delayed allergic reaction - in the period from a few hours to two days from the time of ingestion of the allergen. Compared with immediate response delayed symptoms of allergic reaction is not pronounced and may include eczema, urticaria and asthma.

Anaphylactic shock - a rare but life-threatening condition in which multiple organs and systems of the body are covered by an allergic reaction. Symptoms include intense itching, hives, sweating, swelling of the mucous membrane of the throat, shortness of breath and reduced blood pressure. If this condition is not promptly and properly treated, it can progress rapidly, leading to loss of consciousness or even death.

What you can do?

If you are in the risk group (ie, if your family history of allergies), be alert to your body's reaction to any new foods. Trying unknown meal, start with a small portion or even discard it, especially if you are away from home and civilization.

You should have a good understanding of what you eat. Read the labels on the foods you buy. If any of what you would normally buy, billed as "new" or "improved", double-check the label.

Eat only fresh food. Try not to eat the dried, canned and processed foods.

Inject new foods to the menu of your child gradually, especially if you and your husband both have allergies.

Every time you feed your baby something new, give him a very small portion and increase gradually.

If you have a reaction to any ingredient of food, consult an allergist whether the symptoms are caused by food allergies or some other problem.

If one day you have been diagnosed with a food allergy, the only effective way to overcome identify irritants and avoid it.
The risk of dying from an allergic reaction is increased if you suffer from asthma. If so, you should always have on hand a dose of epinephrine (adrenaline) to quickly take it upon the occurrence of an allergic reaction. You have to know when and how to conduct an injection of epinephrine. Reception tablets containing antihistamines, sometimes helps, but the use of epinephrine may be vital.

What can a doctor?

An allergist can make an accurate diagnosis based on the analysis of the history of your disease, physical examination and laboratory tests.

In the diagnosis of food allergy, skin scarification using a sample in which the diluted extract product is placed on the skin surface and thus applied to it scratches or punctures made. If there is no any reaction, skin test negative. If within 15 minutes a redness and swelling, similar in shape to a mosquito bite, you may be allergic to the study product. However, this test can give false-positive and false-negative results.

More accurate are blood tests, known as the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a study of antibodies. However, they may also give false-positive results.

Skin testing and blood tests for antibodies point to the allergens that have the potential to provoke allergic reactions in the person. If the skin tests and blood tests, the diagnosis is unclear, the doctor may prescribe provocative tests. Such studies are conducted in allergy hospital on strict conditions. In carrying out provocative tests in the nose, under the tongue or injected directly into the bronchial small amount of the allergen, and after a reaction time is estimated. Such a study may cause the patient severe allergic reactions and should be carried out in the presence of a doctor who can provide immediate medical help.

If you have found a true food allergy, you will be recommended by a special diet with total exclusion of the alleged allergen. Within a few weeks of strict adherence to a hypoallergenic diet (usually includes rice, salad, apples). After a while, you can vary the diet, and then to include the same allergen that has been identified. If it is administered again develop allergies, you should continue this diet.

Remember that any elimination diet (diet with the exception of allergenic foods) can be carried out only with the consent of your doctor and under the supervision of a qualified nutritionist. After all, even with this kind of diet you should be getting from the food, all the necessary materials. The doctor will be able to competently replace allergenic products for others that contain the same nutrients and vitamins. Do not be excluded from the diet of whole foods for a few weeks at a time, especially when it comes to younger children, the elderly and sick people.

Maintain strict diet helps a lot of people to recover from food allergies. One study found that after 1-2 years of faithful observance of a hypoallergenic diet for about one-third of older children and adults got rid of the annoying sensitivity to their food. But an allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can often remain for life.