Food allergies affect many people each year and can be very dangerous to your health, especially if you do not know you have a food allergy. A food allergy is when the immune system responds to a particular type of food thinking it is harmful. When you have a food allergy it is recommended you stay away from all products containing that particular food because you can get severe symptoms if you ingest it such as swelling of the throat, hives, rash and you can even die from the food allergy if it is not treated right away. Usually a food allergy is found during your childhood but in some cases you might not know until you are an adult if you have never had the product before. A food allergy can also be passed down from your mother or father so it is important to know if any food allergies exist in your immediate family. There are a lot of foods that can cause a food allergy, but here are three of the most common foods associated with an allergic reaction.
Peanuts are actually the most common food allergy found in people, and it can either be found in childhood or adulthood. If you are allergic to peanuts then you most likely will find this out during your childhood since a lot of products use peanuts everyday for meal preparation. A person with a peanut allergy does not even have to eat the peanut to have an allergic reaction; simply touching a peanut product can make you have a reaction. Most recently, school establishments have banned the use of peanuts in meal preparation because of the fact it is the most common allergy and often presents itself during childhood. When a peanut allergy manifests itself you might see a number of different symptoms such as skin reactions, gastrointestinal reactions, respiratory problems and cardiovascular problems.
A skin reaction is most likely to happen if you have a peanut allergy and it can make your skin appear red, itchy, bumpy, and swollen and it will look like you broke out in hives. When you have a gastrointestinal reaction from a peanut allergy you will often have stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea which are all typical intestinal reactions after a peanut allergy. A peanut allergy can also manifest itself through a respiratory problem such as watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and even coughing or wheezing similar to an asthma attack. The peanut allergy can cause you to become lightheaded and dizzy or even cause you to faint which are manifestations of the peanut allergy in the cardiovascular region. The most severe manifestation of a peanut allergy can occur when all of the above symptoms occur at once which is known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. This is when your tongue also might appear to swell and airway gets blocked and your blood pressure drops which causes a very dangerous situation. If you go into anaphylactic shock then you should immediately call for help because you are having a severe reaction to peanuts that could lead to death or coma.
Since there is no known cure for a peanut allergy, someone with a peanut allergy needs to be aware of the establishment they are going to and if peanuts are used in meal preparation. A lot of places have gotten rid of peanuts in meal preparation all together and if they use peanuts then they should have a disclaimer on the menu. Someone who has a peanut allergy also needs to be cautious about using a spoon that might have been used to scoop out peanuts such as in an ice cream parlor or social event. You should also avoid any products that contain peanuts such as peanut butter cookies, cakes, ice cream, and any other foods that might contain the product. There is no real way to get rid of a peanut allergy so the only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid peanuts at all costs and know what products are going into your food before you buy them. It is always better to ask the chef when you are at a restaurant if peanuts are used in the establishment before you eat there so you know if you are safe.
Eggs are also another common food allergy and will most likely present itself during childhood since children are commonly exposed to eggs. Having an egg allergy can also be very dangerous and can lead to a lot of dangerous physical symptoms including anaphylactic shock or even death if not diagnosed and treated properly. Typically if you have an allergy to eggs you will see the symptoms start within a couple hours at the most after eating the egg product. The egg allergy can manifest itself in a variety of ways including respiratory problems, skin problems and gastrointestinal problems. Someone with an egg allergy will most likely have nasal inflammation, runny nose and possible swelling of the nasal cavities along with an asthma attack. Egg allergies can also manifest into hives, redness or irritation of skin, rash and severe skin itching. As far as gastrointestinal manifestation, you might have a stomach ache, cramps, vomiting, nausea, and even diarrhea.
The most severe form of an egg allergy will manifest itself through anaphylaxis which is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that is known to be life-threatening. If you go into anaphylactic shock you will have symptoms such as swelling of the tongue, constricted airway, low blood pressure and abdominal pain with a high pulse. You might also feel lightheaded and become very dizzy which can result in a seizure or loss of consciousness. If you go into anaphylactic shock then you need to call 911 immediately because this is a very dangerous allergic reaction to eggs and it can cause permanent brain damage, coma or even death. Someone with anaphylactic shock will have to get a shot of epinephrine pin which is an allergy medication that stops the allergic reaction and will help the body regain control of the allergen. The epinephrine shot is usually administered at the emergency room but some people carry around epinephrine pins so they can administer it to themselves if they come in contact with the egg.
The only real way to prevent an egg allergy is to avoid eggs completely by being aware of what you are eating. You should be avoiding any products that contain eggs and avoid touching a product that contains the egg itself. Read food labels carefully to see whether or not eggs are an ingredient in that food and stay away from that food if eggs are present. There is no real way to prevent an egg allergy from happening because eggs are a common ingredient found in many household products including shampoo, medication and cosmetics. Even flu vaccines have a small amount of egg product in them so always talk to your doctor about your egg allergy before getting a flu shot. When you have an egg allergy you are often only allergic to the egg whites but this is actually the most common part of the egg that is used as an ingredient in many different foods. Someone who is allergic to eggs will just need to be cautious when they order foods from a restaurant and be aware of the ingredients in their foods.
Wheat is also another common allergy that occurs because of an abnormal autoimmune reaction to products found in wheat. Your body develops an antibody to the wheat product causing your body to attack the wheat proteins as if it were a disease or an invader. There are a lot of symptoms of a wheat allergy and they can range from the minor symptoms to the more severe symptoms including anaphylaxis. The symptoms will most likely show up during the first couple hours after eating a wheat product so it is important to watch out for the symptoms. Although a wheat allergy often occurs in children and is likely to disappear after age five, an adult is still susceptible to the wheat allergy and is still fairly common in the adult population.
Symptoms of a wheat allergy are just like any other food allergy and can be life-threatening in some cases. If you have a wheat allergy you will experience symptoms such as diarrhea, swelling of face or tongue, itchy skin, watery eyes, hives, cramps, nausea and sometimes respiratory distress. If you are having a hard time breathing then you are most likely having an allergic reaction to wheat and need to get to the hospital immediately. Respiratory symptoms can cause you to wheeze and cough and some people say it is like having an asthma attack. Hives and a rash with constant itching of skin is one of the most common symptoms of a wheat allergy and you also might have abdominal cramps or vomiting. The most severe form of a wheat allergy is known as anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening reaction to wheat where all of the symptoms occur at once. You might also feel lightheaded and dizzy or have a rapid pulse with a low blood pressure. Anaphylactic shock is very serious and can block your airway causing you to lose consciousness and can lead to coma or death. Someone with anaphylactic shock needs to get to the hospital immediately so that they can be given a shot of epinephrine to get rid of the allergic reaction. If you have a wheat allergy, you might also be given an epinephrine pin to use at your house or if you are out and develop the wheat allergy symptoms.
There is no real treatment or cure for a wheat allergy except to avoid the wheat products all together. It is very hard to avoid wheat products since they are found in almost every food and the ingredients in wheat are used in baking. The best way to avoid wheat products is to read the labels at your store before you buy something to see if wheat is a listed ingredient. Wheat proteins often occur in prepared foods so it might be hard to find the products that do not contain wheat, but they are out there if you look carefully. You can also use antihistamines to control the wheat allergy symptoms which can be found at your local grocery store for about 7 dollars. Antihistamines will help control the symptoms after a wheat allergy and can often allow you to eat small portions of wheat-filled products without worrying about serious complications. Overall, a wheat allergy is often the hardest to stop completely but controlling it by avoiding wheat products all together is your best bet.