In one of the most popular US television shows, Big Bang Theory, the popular character Howard Wolowitz has a peanut allergy. If you have watched the show you might remember this. In one episode, he consumes a bar of chocolate with peanuts just to distract his friend. His lips and eyes swell up and is rushed to the emergency. The incident was really funny and the acting by the character (my favorite soap opera actor) was hilarious!
Jokes aside, on a serious note, food allergy is not a funny business. It involves hives or minor abdominal pain to severe anaphylaxis with low blood pressure and loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis can come on within minutes of exposure to the trigger food. It can be fatal and must be treated immediately with an injection of epinephrine.
The last thing that anyone wants is not to be able to eat the food that they love! Unfortunately, some people inherit food allergies from their parents while others get them later in their life. The real tragedy is, they are probably the most misunderstood victims because most people disregard their allergies and accuse them to be pretentious. However, the fact is food allergies are really very dangerous and life threatening.
Before jumping into five food allergies that one should not ignore, let’s first get to know about food allergies, its symptoms and treatment.
So, What Exactly Is A Food Allergy And Is There Any Cure For It?
Our body’s immune system always tries to identify and fight the harmful bacteria, viruses or infections. Allergy due to consumption of certain foods occurs when the immune system overreacts to it and spots it out as a danger.
There is no hard and fast cure for food allergies. You have to avoid the food to shun the allergy. It is easy to avoid the direct consumption but again one has to be careful while eating in restaurants and also while consuming ready made packaged foods. Those with food allergies should carefully read food labels and always ask about ingredients before consuming it.
- Itching in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Nausea or vomiting
Food Allergies That You Should Not Ignore
There are certain foods which are well known for causing allergic reaction. I’ve enlisted some of the common food allergies that you should know about. Let’s jump right on to it!
Peanuts are among the most common allergy-causing foods. There are varieties of food items and dishes which are loaded with peanuts. People who are allergic to peanuts should read the ingredient list before consuming any food products. You can also keep a wallet sized peanut label card with you which gives technical and scientific information regarding the peanuts. Peanuts and peanut products are generally found in candies, cereals and baked goods, such as cookies, cakes and pies. Peanuts can cause allergies that ranges from mild to the fatal allergies like anaphylaxis. If you are allergic to peanuts, also try to avoid skin contact as allergic reactions are erratic. Even a small amount of peanut can cause dangerous allergic reaction. About 90% of reactions to peanut occur within 20 minutes of exposure.
People who are allergic to peanuts are most likely to be allergic to tree nuts too. Tree nuts are the nuts and seeds that come from trees. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts are some of the tree nuts. Just like peanut allergies, tree nut allergies are considered to be very fatal. Tree nut allergies are responsible for around 50% of anaphylaxis-related deaths. Because of this, tree nut allergic’s are advised to carry epi-pen with them. An epi-pen is taken as a life-saving tool with a shot of adrenaline.
Adrenaline is a natural hormone that kindles the body’s fighting capacity. People who are allergic to tree nuts can inject themselves with an epi-pen if they begin to have a severe allergic reaction. When given as an injection to people having a severe allergic reaction, it can overturn the effects of the allergy and save the person’s life
When the immune system of our body rejects the proteins found in the wheat, it is wheat allergy. This allergy can be caused due to consumption of wheat and inhaling the wheat flour. This allergy is also common among the people whose family members have allergies or allergic diseases, such as asthma or eczema. The easy way to shun wheat allergy is to avoid wheat. Symptoms of wheat allergy can occur within minutes to hours after eating something with wheat in it. Some of the symptoms of wheat allergies are itching, hives, nausea, diarrhea and even anaphylaxis. Foods with wheat proteins like bread, cookies, pasta, crackers should be avoided. Most of the children with wheat allergy outgrow the allergy after 10 years old.
Fish allergy is less common than any other food allergies. This allergy is caused due to the consumption of certain fish. Allergists recommend avoiding fish in this allergic condition. However, some fish may cause allergy and some may not. Some of the symptoms of fish allergy are hives, headaches, asthma and diarrhea.
Milk allergy is one of the most common allergies in children. This allergy is caused by the consumption of milk and milk products like cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream. The reaction of milk allergy can be seen within 5-30 minutes. Common symptoms are welling, rashes, hives, vomiting and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis.
When To Go For Emergency?
It is very important for people to be serious with allergies. Being careless can be very life-threatening. If the allergic reaction is more serious, then, you should immediately go to the hospital for emergency. Your doctor might prescribe you some antihistamines, corticosteroids or in severe cases, allergy shots or pills to reduce the allergic reactions.
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