Food Allergy Awareness

Food allergies affect millions of Americans, many of whom are children. Whether it’s peanut allergy or gluten allergy, it’s essential to have an awareness of the types of food allergies to protect your health or the health of a family member. Having an abnormal response to food, like trouble breathing, can be a frightening experience. Still, millions of people have no other choice but to live with their food allergy, while being mindful of the things that they consume daily.

What is a Food Allergy?

According to MedlinePlus, food allergy is an immune system response to a portion of food consumed that the body mistakes as harmful. This immune system overreaction to a harmless food protein can result in severe or potentially life-threatening health issues. Food allergy is also associated with a family history in some individuals, and people with other types of allergic reactions like hay fever. It is common for food allergy symptoms to overlap with symptoms associated with health problems. A food allergy diagnosis should be confirmed through the process of the evaluation conducted by an allergist.

Food Allergens

The most common food allergens in the U.S. peanut, egg, soy, milk, tree nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish, and these account for 90% of food allergy reactions. Just about any food could trigger an allergic reaction if the immune system responds to it as being harmful. High-risk kinds of restaurants, like buffets, Asian cuisine, bakeries, and ethnic eateries, where there is a language barrier should be avoided by individuals with food allergies.

Symptoms of Food Allergy

After eating a particular food, an allergic reaction is triggered, whereby the immune system releases a significant amount of chemicals, such as histamine, that causes symptoms to manifest. These symptoms can include hives, swelling in the mouth, abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, and a decline in blood pressure. An allergic reaction can be mild, or in rare instances severe, causing anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Keep in mind that symptoms can appear quickly after allergen exposure.

No Cure Available for Food Allergies

To date, there is still no cure or proven treatment for food allergies. The best option is to avoid the foods that can trigger an allergic reaction strictly. Remain proactive and vigilant when managing a food allergy. Epinephrine (adrenaline) should be administered immediately when a severe allergic response episode occurs.

Food allergy is a potentially dangerous medical condition that should not be taken lightly. It’s essential to minimize the risk of accidental exposure to foods that can trigger an allergic reaction. Check food labels when in doubt so that you do not run into any trouble with food allergens.

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