Among the uncontrolled allergies in American today, food allergy is the top most allergy.
Even though many people will have bad reaction to certain foods, a reaction triggered by immune system is real allergy to food.
However, most of the people misdiagnose the food allergy as food intolerance.
The underlying factors of this bad reaction to food are dietary and lifestyle conditions.
Any food can trigger bad reaction, but in children the common food allergies are eggs, milk, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and shellfish [Shellfish Allergy].
On the other hand, in adults the most common foods that triggers food allergy are peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, and others. They account 90 percent of food allergies in US.
Some more things that lead to the development of food allergies include genetic susceptibility, immunizations, toxic overload, etc.
Generally, you can see the reaction immediately after eating in case of food allergy and in rare cases it can take hours to begin the reaction. If the symptoms are seen immediately after eating the food then you can have food allergy.
Reactions that can be seen in food allergy
If you have food allergies, you will develop wheezing and hoarse voice. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, itchiness, nasal congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, etc, are also seen in food allergy. Anaphylaxis is a life threatening complication of food allergy since it can result in death.
Blood tests to detect food allergy
There are some blood tests that are helpful in diagnosing the food allergy. They include RAST to detect the presence of IgE antibodies for the particular allergen.
The RAST test with greater specificity is CAP-RAST, which shows IgE antibody for each allergen. However, clinical significance of such antibodies is not recognized. Skin prick is another test in the diagnosis of food allergy [Food Allergy Test].
On the other hand, food allergy can be best diagnosed by allergist’s assessment. The above diagnostic tests will be performed only after reviewing the patient’s history and the symptoms that have occurred after food ingestion and when the doctor feels the symptoms are from food allergy. Physical examination will also be done to eliminate any other medical problems.
At the present time, there is no cure for food allergy and there are no allergy shots or allergy desensitization for food allergies. The only treatment for food allergy is avoidance of that particular food that you are allergic to.
If the symptoms are limited to one area of the body, for example if you feel itchy in the area of chin only then no treatment is required, as it will disappear in a brief time. You can take antihistamines to relieve irritation. Soothing creams also help relieving your symptoms.
If you experience a whole body reaction, wheezing and shortness of breath after eating any offended food, immediately call 911 or a local emergency number.
Remember to consult your health care provider if you suspect you or your child has food allergy to any particular food in order to avoid the problem.