Allergic reactions to foods may be uncomfortable but these types of allergies generally are not severe. If, however, you are unlucky enough to be allergic to foods and you do have acute allergic reactions, you may have to seek emergency care. Food allergies have distinctive signs and symptoms which include tingling or mouth itching, hives or itching, swelling of the lips, tongue and throat and the face as well as trouble breathing and wheezing sounds. You may experience abdominal pain, vomiting or nausea and if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or faint you are probably experiencing a food allergy. Those with severe allergic reactions called anaphylaxis will have the symptoms of a bloated throat, the sensation of a lump in your throat, difficulty breathing, immediate drop in blood pressure and a rapid pulse. You may also feel dizzy or lose consciousness.
The immune system in your body is set up to detect allergens that are harmful and if you have a food allergy your immune structure will mistakenly identify a specific food or substance as being something harmful. Cells in your body send out antibodies known as immunoglobulin E and these antibodies will counteract the food allergy culprit. The next time you eat even a negligible amount of an allergen food your immune system will release histamines into your bloodstream and you will quickly experience an allergic reaction.
Most food allergies are triggered by shellfish, peanuts, fish, eggs and milk and for years chocolate was thought to trigger food allergies. Fortunately it has been found that chocolate rarely causes any types of allergy. Do remember that if you have high food intolerance even a small amount of a food allergen will cause an allergic reaction. As an example, some types of food allergies include lactose intolerance which will cause cramping, diarrhea and excess gas. Lactose allergies are caused by an inadequate amount of enzymes that are needed to digest milk products. It has also been found that food allergies may be triggered by psychological factors and celiac disease or a gluten allergy will cause severe allergic reactions.
One way to cope with a food allergy is to read the labels on cans and boxed foods. By law food labels are required to state whether they have any common food allergens. For example you will always find baked goods stating “contains peanuts or peanut oils.” If you are ever in doubt about what ingredients are in foods, it is okay to say “no thanks.” You do need to let caregivers know when your child has a food allergy. Forgetting this step could cause an unplanned trip to the emergency room. Look for alternative remedies that may help with food allergies and these include herbal preparations, acupuncture and special diets.
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