What happens in the body during a food-allergic reaction?
The immune system mistakenly believes that a harmless substance, in this case a food item, is harmful. In its attempt to protect the body, it creates specific IgE antibodies to that food. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals and histamines 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.
What are the common symptoms of a reaction?
Symptoms range from a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue and the throat, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, to death. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.
What is the best treatment for food allergy?
Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to avoid a reaction. Reading ingredient labels for all foods is the key to maintaining control over the allergy. If a product doesn’t have a label, allergic individuals should not eat that food. If a label contains unfamiliar terms, shoppers must call the manufacturer and ask for a definition or avoid eating that food.
Is there a cure for food allergies?
Currently, there are no medications that cure food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. Many children can outgrow food allergies, although peanuts, nuts, fish, and shellfish are often considered life-long allergies.
Should I stop eating the food that I think I’m allergic to?
Randomly taking food out of your diet can leave you with an unbalanced diet that can cause other health problems. Additionally, you may become frustrated because you reach a point where you believe that everything you eat is causing a reaction. Seek the help of a doctor or board certified allergist before making significant changes in your diet.
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