The recent increase in rate of food allergies suffered by people the world over has been attributed to various different causes: some experts have suggested that increase in greenhouse gases has caused an increase in pollen levels; while others say it is due to increase in exposure to synthetic chemicals.
Increasing levels of mold, and the Hygiene Hypothesis that suggests high levels of hygiene reduces our exposure to normal germs and makes us more allergic are some of the other theories.
There is yet another theory that it is the recent increase in consumption of genetically modified produce that is making us more allergic. Some experts counter this by saying that it isn’t any particular reason why allergies are rising; it is actually an increase in awareness about allergies among people that has led to this increase
What are GMO Foods and how could they cause allergies?
Genetically altered foods are derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and are produced by certain engineering modifications to make foods resistant to pests or disease, or to increase agricultural yields.
There is evidence to show that at least some genetically engineered foods have had allergic effects and have hence been discontinued.
The problem usually happens when the allergen is transferred inadvertently from a food that is a common allergen to a food that is not as commonly seen tocause allergies.
For instance, allergens were unintentionally transferred from Brazil Nuts to genetically engineered soybean and the GM soybean strain had to be discontinued even though it was originally meant to beanimal feed.
How could a GMO allergy manifest?
There is anecdotal evidence of allergic individuals breaking out with allergic reactions when using genetically modified produce. For instance, one may break out in hives just from using corn oil to fry food. The fumes of the hot oil itself could cause a person to have a serious reaction.
The problem is that foods that are genetically modified, such as soy, corn oil etc. are found to be present in so many different food items that it is difficult to avoid all of these and you may not even be aware of actually consuming them or coming into contact with them.
If you have allergic reactions that you cannot seem to explain any other way, you may consider the possibility that the reaction could be due to an allergy to GM foods.
What You Should Know About Bee Venom Allergy
About 0.5 to 2% of the general population could be allergic to bee venom or the venom of wasps and kissing bugs, hornets, yellow jackets and so on.
This means that other than the normal reaction that a person could have to being bitten by a bee – such as pain and swelling, a person could also experience the life threatening condition called anaphylaxiswhich causes the blood pressure to rise and the throat to swell, making breathing difficult.
Why a bee allergy is important to know about
An estimated 40 people actually die each year from bee stings in the United States alone which according to some estimates is a lot higher. What is also important to know is that these deaths usually occur among those people who have no past history of this allergy, and have never before demonstrated this adverse and extreme reaction to bee venom.
If you are aware of being allergic, you should take care to avoid any contact with insects such as bees, hornets, Africanized (killer) bees, wasps, bumblebees, yellow jackets, and become aware of the other insects that could cause such reactions. If a person has ever shown any symptoms of anaphylaxis to a bee sting, they should get themselves tested for the allergy.
Symptoms of bee allergy
Within a few minutes of being bitten, the allergic individual could have a number of different reactions. There could be hives that begin at the site of the sting and there could be itching all over. A person can have flu like symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, coughing and wheezing.
There could be abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and other digestive problems. A person may feel lightheaded and their heart may start to race. A person may feel panicky and the dangerous signs to watch out for are swelling of the tongue, lips and throat.
What to do in case of an allergic reaction to a sting
Allergic people should keep themselves equipped with emergency items such as an Epipen, a Twin-ject Device or Anakit which can be easily obtained from a pharmacy. If an allergic person is bitten by any of the above insects, this must be treated as an emergency and medical attention should be given as soon as possible.
If reactions are mild, only antihistamine may be needed, but the person should still see a doctor following the episode of being stung.