What is a food allergy?
Food allergies are allergic reactions that appear shortly after consuming certain foods. This is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to substances contained in food. Allergy food can be acute and sudden. However, if this condition lasts for a long time, it is said to be chronic.
These reactions can trigger several symptoms in a variety of bodies. The reactions that appear ranging from mild to severe reactions, such as hives, to severe symptoms are called anaphylactic shock. This shock can be life threatening, if the patient is late in getting proper medical treatment.
How common is this condition?
This type of allergy is quite common. All groups of children, adolescents, adults and the elderly are equally at risk for this condition. However, this allergic condition is often experienced by children. Children generally have allergies to soybeans, milk and eggs.
Unlike adults, adults often experience allergies from seafood they consume. Such as fish, shrimp, crab and sea shells.
Symptoms that arise
Allergy symptoms will usually occur within a few hours, even minutes after the body is exposed to substances that cause allergies. After consuming certain foods, several signs and symptoms will appear as follows:
- Itching sensation in the mouth
- Rash spots, eczema and itching are common
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or other parts of the body
- Nasal congestion
- Stomach pain, diarrhea, and even nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and even fainting
Symptoms that appear are sometimes indirect, it takes a while for an allergic reaction to appear after eating.
What caused it?
The cause of food allergies is the immune system overreacting to a food substance, one of which is protein. Substances that trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens. When food allergens are consumed and enter the body, the immune system will stimulate cells to release antibodies. These antibodies are called immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies.
IgE functions to fight a food that is mistaken by the body as a hazardous substance. Apart from these antibodies, the body will secrete histamine and other chemicals. These substances will eventually cause allergy symptoms, such as hives and end in anaphylactic shock.
The risk of a person experiencing allergies is due to environmental and hereditary factors. This is common in children. Other things that can lead to allergies are smoking, air pollution, infections and hormones. However, in general, the following factors can make a person experience allergies:
Allergies caused by food will differ between adults and children. Babies 0-3 months of age usually have the most allergic reactions to cow’s milk. Cow’s milk allergy in babies generally disappears with age. In children, the most common cause of allergies is consuming eggs. Whereas in adults it is fish.
Sixty percent of people with food allergies are women. This is because in general, men will be more active than women. This will make the metabolic system in the body faster.
Family history can trigger allergies to certain foods. You will be at high risk of developing allergies if there is a history in the same family.
Generally, asthma and food allergies occur simultaneously. When this happens, the symptoms of both tend to be more severe.
How to diagnose this condition?
There is no test that can directly diagnose an allergy you are experiencing. Doctors will generally consider a number of factors as well as allergy testing before making a diagnosis. These factors include:
- Ask for symptoms
- Family history of allergies
- There is a physical examination
After that, the doctor will perform several tests to diagnose the allergy. The following tests will be performed by the doctor:
- Skin test
- Blood test
- Elimination of the diet
- Eat these foods directly
How to treat food allergies that can be done at home
Lifestyle and medication that can be done at home will be able to handle allergies. Come on, consider the following points.
- Avoid problematic foods such as leftovers, and expired foods.
- Read food content labels carefully before buying
- Learn how to use anti allergy injections
The condition that you feel in general will not go away with lifestyle changes as above. The most appropriate way to do this is to avoid foods that contain allergens. If you accidentally consume these foods, you can take steps to relieve allergies, namely:
Mild allergic reaction
You can take over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines to relieve allergy symptoms. The drug can be consumed after symptoms such as hives, reddish spots appear.
Severe allergic reaction
When severe allergy symptoms appear, you should see a doctor. The doctor will perform an epinephrine injection.
What are the foods that trigger allergies?
When experiencing allergies, of course we have to be smart in choosing the food to consume. Some types of food are very dangerous and can trigger allergies. So what are the foods that can trigger allergies? Let’s see the explanation.
The food allergen that causes a severe reaction is peanuts. Allergic reactions to peanuts will be rapid after consuming them. Nuts that can trigger allergies include almonds, pistachios, and peanuts.
Eggs are very often a trigger for allergies. Egg whites contain lots of protein, this will be more p
rone to allergic reactions than egg yolks.
Eating foods that come from the sea or seafood will trigger allergies in the body. Several types of foods that can cause it include salmon, tuna, shellfish, squid, shrimp and crab.
The protein contained in soybeans will be identified by the immune system as a dangerous substance. That way, the body will release IgE antibodies, histamine and other chemicals that can trigger allergies.
Wheat allergy can also occur in some people. This is because wheat has protein content.
When to see a doctor?
You are advised to see a doctor immediately if you experience allergies after consuming certain foods. If possible, you should visit a doctor while the allergy is still being felt. This can help the doctor to make a diagnosis. In some people, food allergies can stimulate a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, as the symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the throat and feeling of a lump in the throat that makes breathing difficult
- Shock and drop in blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness, weakness
- Loss of consciousness
Anaphylactic shock, if not handled properly and quickly, can be life threatening. Several other factors that can increase the risk of experiencing anaphylactic reactions include:
- Have a history of asthma
- Teenage age even below
- Too late to do treatment
Hope it is useful!!