Hi guys, it is yet another exciting week to learn about diets. Today we will be considering the topic, ‘Symptoms Of Food Allergy ’. Let’s get digging.
Allergy is a damaging immune response by the body to substances especially a particular food, pollen, fur, or dust to which one has become hypersensitive. So, a food allergy occurs when one reacts to certain substances in the food consumed. Food allergy is best diagnosed by a board-certified food allergist.
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According to the Center for disease control and prevention, about 4-6% of children and 4% of adults have a food allergy, but over time some children outgrow these allergies and there is no cure. There are three types of food allergy and they are:
- Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated: occurs when the immune system provides an immunoglobulin E antibody. Symptoms occur a few seconds to minutes after eating. There is a greater risk of anaphylaxis in this form of food allergy.
- Non-immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated: caused by other cells in the immune system. Difficult to diagnose as symptoms take a longer time to develop.
- Mixed: caused by both IgE antibody and other cells.
Symptoms Of Food Allergy
Before we proceed into discussing the symptoms, let us take a look at the causes of food allergies. It should be noted that these causes are basically theories that have been postulated by individuals which are yet to be adequately proven. They include:
- Decrease intake of Vitamin D
- Exposure to and consumption of pesticides and genetically modified food
- Diet: 90% of allergic reaction is caused by the food one consumed. Eight food items have been identified to be the main cause of this reaction and they include:
- Tree nuts (walnut),
- Shellfish (shrimps, crayfish, lobster, crab)
- Fish, Wheat,
Other items like Banana, avocado, kiwi fruit, peach, sesame seed, mustard seed, chamomile, garlic, celery, passion fruit, and aniseed have been discovered to be less of a trigger for food allergic reactions.
It should be noted that there is a possibility that if one is allergic to a specific food, one might have an allergy to a related food.
For instance, Person A is allergic to shrimps when consumed and now decides to consume lobster or crab in place of the shrimps, it’s likely that Person A will have an allergic reaction to lobster or crab consumption because their food constituent is similar to that of the shrimps. This simply means that one is cross-reactive (occurs when the immune system believes one protein in a specific diet to related to another in another diet) with other foods in the same class.
Now the question on your mind is, how does this really happen?
For a food allergy reaction to occur, two parts of the immune system are involved, which are:
- Immunoglobulin E
- Mast cells
The immunoglobulin E is made from cells that are for the part of the allergen (food one is allergic to) which attaches to the surface of the mast cell. This attachment does not cause a reaction if the allergen is consumed for the first time; instead, it is stored up in the body thereby predisposing one to an allergy reaction soon. So, once this allergen is consumed again, it interacts with the immunoglobulin E which now triggers the mast cells to produce histamine thereby causing an allergic reaction by traveling through the bloodstream.
Now, what are the symptoms we should watch out for? These symptoms range from mild to severe and they may involve the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and respiratory tract. Most of these symptoms occur within a few minutes to two hours of food ingestion, although in some cases it may be delayed. This delayed reaction occurs as eczema in children after four to six hours of food consumption. They can surface in one or more of the following ways:
- Vomiting, stomach cramps,
- Hives, itching, and eczema,
- Wheezing, shortness of breath,
- Repetitive cough,
- Shock/circulatory collapse,
- Weak pulse,
- Dizziness, feeling faint,
- Pale/blue coloring of the skin,
- Swelling of the tongue (affects speech and breathing),
- Tight, hoarse throat; trouble swallowing,
- Tingling/itching in the mouth,
- Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction to food). This reaction can cause life-threatening symptoms such as:
- Constricting and tightening of the airway,
- Rapid pulse,
- Dizziness, light-headedness, loss of consciousness,
- Swollen throat, lump sensation in the throat making breathing difficult,
- Shock with a severe decrease in blood pressure,
- If untreated, can lead to coma or death.
Symptoms Of Food Allergy
As we said in the article, food allergic reactions can be delayed and Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis (FPIES) is a form of this reaction. It affects the gastrointestinal tract and occurs two to six hours after food consumption. It mainly occurs in infants who are being weaned or exposed to the food (milk, soy, certain grain) for the first time. Its symptoms include profound repetitive vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration which invariably leads to severe lethargy, change in body temperature, and blood pressure. To treat this condition, intravenous re-hydration is used.
In determining that one is experiencing food allergy reactions, it pays to visit the doctor (specialized allergist) who will help give a proper diagnosis by carrying out some tests and asking some questions to determine the time, duration, and symptoms of the reaction.
This test includes:
- Skin prick test
- Diet or food diary test
- Blood test
- Diet elimination test.
So, to avoid having an extremely worse health status, preventing serious damage to one’s health and complications arising, guys visit the doctor if you have the above symptoms so as to get a proper diagnosis.
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