Food allergies


Mouth | Allergy & Immunology | Food allergies (Disease)


Description

Some people are sensitive to particular foods like nuts, shellfish and cereals. The symptoms of food allergy can include breathing problems, stomach upsets and skin rashes. Before having a food allergy reaction, a sensitive person must be exposed to the food at least once before. It is the second time the person eats the food that the allergic symptoms happen. At that time, when IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibodies react with the food, histamines are released, which can cause hives, asthma, itching in the mouth, trouble breathing, stomach pains, vomiting, or diarrhea.

The protein in the food is the most common allergic component. These kinds of allergies occur when the bodys immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. Some proteins or fragments of proteins are resistant to digestion and those that are not broken down in the digestive process are tagged by the Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These tags fool the immune system into thinking that the protein is harmful. The immune system, thinking the organism (the individual) is under attack, triggers an allergic reaction. These reactions can range from mild to severe.

All of the symptoms of food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating. A food allergy can initially be experienced as an itching in the mouth and difficulty swallowing and breathing. Then, during digestion of the food in the stomach and intestines, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain can start. Incidentally, the gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy are those that are most often confused with the symptoms of different types of food intolerance.

Causes and Risk factors

Food allergies are caused by an immune system response or a chemical reaction in the body. Some severe food allergies can be life threatening. Professional diagnosis is important, because other medical conditions may share the same symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The best treatment for food allergies is to avoid the food that causes the allergy. When that isnt possible, a person can use medicines such as antihistamines for mild reactions and the medicines in an allergy kit for serious reactions. ...