What are Food Allergies?
Food Allergies are a medical condition in which the body’s immune system reacts to certain types of food, causing an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can range from mild to life-threatening and is triggered by the body’s immune system responding to the protein it perceives as a threat.
Causes of Food Allergies
Food allergies occur when a person’s immune system perceives a certain food as a threat and produces antibodies to fight off the protein. Common food allergens include: fish, peanuts, shellfish, soy, wheat and dairy. Some people may also develop an allergic reaction to artificial colors or preservatives.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
The most common symptoms of food allergies include: hives, wheezing, swelling, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and itching or tingling in the mouth or throat. In some cases, a person could also experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening emergency where the person’s airways constrict and they are at risk of going into shock.
Treatment for Food Allergies
The best way to treat food allergies is to avoid the food that causes the reaction. To help determine which foods to avoid, a person should keep a food diary to track which foods cause a reaction. Medications, such as oral antihistamines and epinephrine, can also be prescribed to help treat and manage the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Food Allergies & Health
Food allergies can have a negative impact on health, especially if not managed properly. People who are highly allergic to a certain food could have an anaphylactic reaction, which can be life threatening. It is important for people with food allergies to be aware of their allergens, know the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, and know how to address them.