Food allergies happen when your immune system messes up. Your immune system is supposed to protect you from disease and germs. If you have a food allergy your immune system makes a mistake and thinks the food is going to harm you.
The response is the same whether it is a food allergy, an allergy to medicine, an allergy to a flower or tree, or an allergy to peanuts. Although the foods themselves are not harmful the reaction the body has can be life threatening.
In recent years we have heard a lot about the peanut food allergy mainly because the reaction is usually very severe leading to anaphylactic shock.
Here’s what can happen if a child or adult for that matter eats a peanut topped brownie which they have a food allergy to – the antibodies in the body over react releasing histamine in the blood.
The histamine released eyes, throat, nose, respiratory, skin, and even the digestive system can be affected by the food allergy. The reaction could be mild or severe and it can happen almost right away or a couple of hours later.
Some of the first signs of a person suffering from a food allergy can be a runny nose, hives, itchy skin, tingling lips or tongue. Other signs can include tightness in the throat, hoarse voice, coughing, wheezing, stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting.
And with a serious food allergy anaphylaxis occurs which is a severe allergic reaction that comes on suddenly and with several serious problems all occurring at once – the heart, digestive system, respiratory all react at the same time and the breathing tube narrows while the tongue swells making breathing difficult if not impossible – this is a medical emergency.
If you have a serious food allergy and not necessarily to peanuts you need to make sure you know exactly what you are eating. If there is any doubt don’t eat it. You might also carry the proper medication with you.
Kids often suffer from milk and eggs but the often will outgrow these. Severe allergies are commonly seen in peanuts, shrimp, and fish and these do not usually disappear with age.
Not sure how to tell if you have a food allergy? Sometimes it’s pretty easy to figure out. Hives may appear or perhaps stomach problems occur. But other times it’s harder to tell. And sometimes even if you know you have a food allergy determining to what can be really difficult.
Many medical professionals believe that allergies are genetic and inherited so if you have a parent that suffers from hay fever you can expect to do so yourself. Food allergies can resolve themselves over time.
It is important that you do not confuse a food allergy with food intolerance such as with lactose intolerance which can cause severe stomach pain and diarrhea. But that doesn’t make it an allergy.
For some food allergies it’s as simple as not eating the food anymore. Other food allergies are harder to diagnose and harder to avoid. You should see a doctor that specializes in allergies. The doctor will ask you a lot of questions to help determine if you have a food allergy.
A liquid extract of the food or foods that are suspect is used to determine the food allergy. A tiny scratch is made on the skin and then a drop of the extract placed on the scratch. The doctor will watch for the development of a red spot which will indicate you have a food allergy to that particular food.
Once a food allergy is determined the doctor will decide on the best course of action and whether treatment is needed. Once you know what your allergy is it becomes much easier to deal with.