Knowing Basics Of Living With Food Allergies
What Is A Food Allergy?
When a person eats food with a substance that causes an allergic reaction, the allergen is a type of antigen that generates an anomalous powerful response in which the immune system fights off a considerable threat that would otherwise be harmful to the body. Such reactions are called allergies.
The Body’s Defense Mechanism
Trace amounts of an allergen can trigger an immune response in some individuals. When a person eats food and has an allergic reaction the immune system reacts in releasing a tremendous amounts of chemicals along with histamines and a type of antibody called IgE, which act as defense mechanisms against the allergen. The body can go into shock and symptoms may progress into a very dangerous reaction and can affect the respiratory systems, gastrointestinal tract, the skin and or the cardiovascular system. There is not a cure for allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent the symptoms from occurring.
Can The Body Go Into Shock?
A severe allergic reaction can develop rapidly after exposure to the allergen. Usually a response happens with in 30 minutes or can take up to two hours to occur. Anaphylaxis shock is an immune response that causes one of the following: an itchy rash, throat or tongue swelling, shortness in breath, vomiting, lightheartedness, and low blood pressure. This type of acute reaction can develop quickly and be life threatening. The person having the reaction might become weak and have loss in coordination.
How Is Anaphylaxis Treated?
Must be treated right away. Most cases need to be treated immediately and can be done with the use of adrenaline (Epinephrine) which is crucial in surviving the occurrence of life threatening reaction. Epinephrine is prescribed in an auto injector device called EpiPen.
Food Intolerance V.S. Food Allergy
An intolerance does not involve the immune system it involves the digestive system because the body is lacking a certain enzyme to properly digest the type of food. A food intolerance and the types of symptoms can vary depending on if your lactose intolerant, or you have a gluten intolerance. Symptoms may include gas, bloating, abdominal pain. There are many different approaches you can do to avoid these symptoms, such as obtaining a different diet and adapting to a vegan, kosher, or gluten-free lifestyle.
Foods That Account For Allergic Reactions
- Tree Nuts (cashews, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
- Milk (all forms of dairy)
- Wheat (gluten)
- Fish (halibut, salmon, etc.)
- Shellfish ( crab, lobster, shrimp, etc.)
Tips To Dining Out
Stay away from these high risk type of restaurants including:
- Buffets or deli’s because the risk of cross contamination.
- Asian Cuisine’s because they use peanuts and tree nuts in many dishes.
- Bakery’s because possible cross contaminants
Check The Ingredients List
When eating out or shopping at the grocery store minimize your risks of coming into contact with foods containing food allergens. When you eat out check with the cooks to make sure they are aware of any allergies and can be aware when preparing your meal to avoid cross contamination. Also a good thing to start to do while your shopping at the grocery store is make sure to pay close attention to labels. If you’re in question about a product you should cross reference by asking a sales associate if you do not know what the ingredients are. Usually if you can not pronounce the ingredients the best bet is to stay clear of those kind of items.
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