Allergies can’t be cured, but they don’t need to stop sufferers from living life to the full. People with food allergies can attest that life isn’t easy when you have to avoid certain foods at all costs.
Trying new dishes at restaurants can be a minefield and reactions to the offending foods can be uncomfortable, severe or even life-threatening.
Here are some advice on how to manage this increasingly common problem:
What is a food allergy exactly?
An allergy is where the body makes antibodies to a specific food – those antibodies are allergic antibodies.
What are common allergic reactions?
The most severe is anaphylaxis, which is a very severe allergic reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, collapse and fainting and even death. (Allergies) can also cause vomiting and a skin rash.
Are there different degrees of allergic reaction to various foods?
Some people seem to have a milder form of reaction – they might only get a rash. However, particularly in children, anaphylaxis is a life-threatening situation and very serious.
What are the most common foods people are allergic to?
Peanuts, other nuts and then shellfish.
How do people find out what they are allergic to?
The first thing is people generally have a pretty good idea of what is causing it. They can tell by burning, tingling or itching in the mouth when they’re eating the food. And people with anaphylaxis usually know what has triggered it.
Most importantly, they need a referral from their general practitioner to see an
allergist. An allergist will take a careful history and they know what is likely to cause food allergies and can test for that specific allergy. And then that confirms for the patient, clinically, what they are allergic to.
How can people treat food allergies?
The principles of treatment of food allergy are twofold. One is the avoidance of the foods in question – it can be a problem (even if) they aren’t necessarily ubiquitous. Eating out can be a problem. But people need to know what they are allergic to.
If you’re going to a restaurant, notify ahead and when they serve the food, touch a bit on your lip first as a touch test. And the second principle is they must learn to manage an allergy…people will come in contact with that food at some time.
They need to have a management plan for an acute attack. Often this will include having an adrenalin injector.
Are food allergies more prevalent today than in the past?
Yes, they are more prevalent, particularly in the Western world. It could be lifestyle changes. We live cleaner lives, the number of indoor allergens has increased, infections have changed.
Is there a cure for food allergies?
While we can’t cure allergies, we do want people to know there are appropriate ways of managing them, and to keep themselves safe with a management plan and avoidance strategies.
Be well and live life to its fullest
Author: Rowell Bulan M.D.
Your Guide To Home Health Care
This one’s a great video from a pediatrician, Dr. Michael Marcus who answers more commonly asked questions about Food Allergy