Food allergy affects around 15 Million Americans as on date. It is a serious and life-threatening medical condition which is more prevalent in children.
Causes of food allergy
Food allergy is a result of your immune system overreacting to a harmless food protein (called and allergen).
Food allergies are generally associated with family history.
Most common type of food allergens are wheat, fish, soy, tree nuts, egg, peanut, and shellfish.
Food allergic reactions could be mild to very severe. Mild reactions could be in the form of abdominal pain and severe reactions could even lead to loss of consciousness.
One important thing to note is that food allergies have no cure as on date. The best way to avoid food allergy is to identify the food you are allergic to and completely avoid it.
Symptoms of food allergy
Symptoms of food allergy could be mild to severe.
Mild symptoms include hives, Eczema, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, nasal congestion, itching in the mouth, sneezing, dry cough and redness of the skin around mouth or eyes.
Serious symptoms include swelling of lips, tongue or throat, difficulty in swallowing, shortness of breath, turning blue, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, chest pain and weak pulse. Sometimes, sever Prince and mild symptoms lead to a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. This requires an immediate treatment.
Diagnosing food allergies
The first thing to take care of while diagnosing food allergy is to do self-trials at home. Food allergies should be diagnosed by qualified practitioners like a board certified allergist. The allergist would want to know your medical history and follow it up with a physical exam.
The tests conducted to identify food allergy include skin prick test, blood test, oral food challenge and trial elimination diet. The results of these tests combined with your medical history help the allergist perform a diagnosis.
Preventing food allergies
The best way to prevent food allergy is to identify the food that causes the allergy and completely avoid it. However, there could be more than 1 food that needs to be avoided.
Peanut is the most common type of food allergies happens to infants and children in their early years. Some other foods that are known to be allergens are eggs and cow milk but their reaction as an allergen is very mild as compared to peanuts. Therefore, prevention of food allergy is primarily focused on peanuts.