What is food allergy?
Food allergy is reaction of the immune system that occur immediately after eating certain meal. A small amount of food that causes allergies can cause signs and symptoms such as: digestive problems, runny nose or bloating and respiratory problems. For some people, food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis.
Food allergy affect about 6 to 8 percent of children under 3 years of age and up to 3 percent of adults. When left untreated, some children will still have food allergy as they get older.
For some people, allergy to certain foods can be uncomfortable, but not a serious problem. For others, food allergy can be frightening and life-threatening. Food allergy usually occurs a few minutes to two hours after eating offending food.
The most common food allergy symptoms include:
• Tingling or itching in the mouth
• Hives, itching or eczema
• Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
• Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
• Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
• Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Causes of food allergy
When you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food or substance in the food as harmful. In response, your immune system stimulates cells to release antibodies known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize nutrients or allergens.
The next time you eat, even the smallest amount of food, the antibody recognizes it as a signal and stimulates your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, as well as other chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals cause allergy symptoms. In adults, most food allergies are caused by certain proteins in:
• Shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster and crab
• Tree nuts, such as walnuts and pecans
For children, food allergies are commonly triggered by proteins in:
• Tree nuts
• Cow’s milk
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if you have any food allergy immediately after eating. If possible, see your doctor if there are any signs of an allergic reaction. This will help the doctor make a timely diagnosis. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any signs or symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, such as:
• Constriction of airways that makes it difficult to breathe
• Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
• Rapid pulse
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
Hence, check and observe your symptoms after eating, especially strange foods that you have never eaten before. See a doctor immediately if you have any symptoms as mentioned above in order to avoid serious health danger.
Article by: Health.D Cam
Source: MAYO CLINIC