Your immune system reacts differently to certain foods. Having a good knowledge of meals you are allergic to will help you handle allergies better. Whether it is dairy products, peanuts or soy, here is what you need to know.
Food Allergies: The 8 Commonest Types
The number of allergy cases affecting both children and adults is increasing. Of the two, children’s allergy cases are more with a frequency of occurrence of 8%, while adults record 6%.
According to the FDA, food of any type can trigger allergy, but 8 common foods are responsible for 90 per cent of food allergies.
Today’s article will discuss the signs and symptoms of the allergies caused by these foods, those who may experience them, and the way out.
Defining food allergy?
When the immune system reacts in an unusual way to some foods, the condition is called food allergy. When this happens, the body will launch histamine – a chemical to resist the food and inflammation may set in.
Eating very little of the food causing you an allergy can spark up the condition.
Symptoms of food allergy
It doesn’t take much time for an allergy to manifest symptoms. Following the type, symptoms can present within minutes, hours to days, and they include:
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Breathing problems
- Swollen face, tongue or mouth
- A rash that itches
When food allergy gets serious, it can trigger anaphylaxis which is symptomised by some of the signs above. Anaphylaxis sometimes can be life-threatening.
Sometimes, people mistake food intolerance for food allergies. But the immune system is not engaged in food intolerance, so even if they can be worrisome, no fatality is involved.
Go for a private skin prick allergy testing UK if you have food allergy symptoms.
Food allergy types
This is of two primary divisions:
- Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated. Here, IgE antibodies are produced by the body to respond to the food in question. Antibodies are special blood proteins that resist foreign substances’ attacks in the body. This type of food allergy takes some hours to present benign to malignant symptoms; anaphylaxis may be part of it.
- Non-immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated. Instead of producing antibodies, other parts of your body’s immune system begin to attack the food. The symptoms here are mostly skin- or digestive system-related, or both. Examples are diarrhoea and vomiting. This type of food allergy happens 3 days after the problem food has been eaten.
The 8 commonest food allergies
- Cow’s milk. This allergy is common among children below 3 years. Above 3 years, 90 per cent of babies will no longer be affected by this allergy. IgE cow milk allergy is very common and dangerous, though the non-IgE form can occur too. The symptoms of the IgE form can be rashes, swelling and rarely anaphylaxis. Constipation, diarrhoea and others symptomise the non-IgE form of this allergy. When this food is diagnosed as an allergy cause, a possible treatment is avoiding everything milk and its products.
- Eggs. While an egg white allergy is the most common type of this food allergy affecting children, it can be treated by removing eggs from your food. 68% of children suffering from this allergy will be free from it when they turn 16. Hives, stomach ache, respiratory issues and rarely anaphylaxis symtomise this allergy. Consult your doctor before adding eggs to your diet to avoid serious problems associated with eating eggs when you have an allergy to them.
- Tree nuts. This is a serious allergic response which is typically long-term and stems from this food allergy. It’s caused by an allergic reaction to seeds and nuts from trees. Treatment will be to avoid all tree nuts (Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, etc.) and products of tree nuts (oils and butter). Why? An allergy to one tree nut is an automatic allergy to other nut types. 50% of deaths by anaphylaxis come from a tree nut allergy. An Epi-pen (epinephrine auto-injector) can help those with this condition.
- Peanuts. Just like tree nuts, peanut allergy can be malignant. Sufferers may sometimes have a tree nut allergy. There’s no known cause of peanut allergy, but people with the highest risks are those whose family history includes a peanut allergy. Around a per cent to two of children have a peanut allergy, while the condition is present in 2% of adults. A combination of treatments can diagnose this allergy. Presently, It’s advised you stay away from peanuts and products from peanuts as a treatment plan. But, more advanced treatment for this condition in children is under development.
- Shellfish. When your body reacts to the protein called tropomyosin from shellfish like lobsters, prawns, shrimps, crayfish, squids, and the like, it causes a shellfish allergy. Other proteins like arginine kinase can trigger this immune system response too. Shellfish allergy symptoms are like IgE food allergy symptoms. You can be free from this allergy by not adding shellfish to your foods as it’s a long-term condition. Even seafood preparation can trigger a shellfish allergy, so those experiencing those are advised to avoid such areas.
- Wheat. This plant contains so much protein, and a reaction to any of these proteins will result in a wheat allergy. Children are mostly affected; however, they are free from it at 10. Vomiting, swelling, rashes and digestive problems characterise this allergy. Sometimes, people mistake this allergy for celiac disease. Treatment is only achieved by removing wheat and wheat products from your meals. Even your creams and beauty products containing wheat should be avoided.
- Soy. The protein contained in soybean and its products (soy milk, soy sauce) causes soy allergy. It’s symptomised by a runny nose, asthma, breathing problems, etc. Rarely does it bring about anaphylaxis. 70% of children with soy allergy grow out of it. By removing soy from food, you can overcome this allergy.
- Fish. This is another common food allergy found in 7% of adults but usually presents in childhood, though when people go older. A malignant reaction can come from fish allergies. That mostly characterised by vomiting and diarrhoea. Though rare, anaphylaxis can happen. Fish allergy can be taken for a negative response to toxic fish. An Epi-pen is recommended for those suffering from fish allergies. An allergy to fish may not cause an allergy to shellfish since their proteins are not the same. But multiple types of fish may cause fish allergy.
Uncommon foods causing allergies
- Sesame seed
- Kiwi fruit
- Chamomile, etc
These foods can trigger many symptoms: benign itchy lips and mouth and severe anaphylaxis.
Are you allergic to food?
Some people are intolerant to foods and may think it’s a food allergy. Should you have the latter, let your private doctor know. They may recommend the following tests to diagnose the issue:
- A review of your diet. This covers your food, eating times and symptoms.
- Skin prick testing. Little food need to insert in the skin with a tiny needle and observed.
- Oral food challenges. Under the doctor’s supervision, patients eat the food causing allergies in incremental amounts under controlled conditions.
- Blood tests. Complete blood Analysis we do to measure IgE antibodies levels with the help of blood sample.
Treatment for food allergies
- Epinephrine. A medication that turns anaphylaxis symptoms around.
- Antihistamines. Lower congestion and itching caused by mild allergies.
- Corticosteroids. Medications that lower swelling caused by malignant allergies.
Consult your doctor, who may refer you to a dietitian for help with food allergies.