Hypersensitivity to a certain kind of food or foods is known as food allergies.
According to an estimation about 3.9% of children and about 2% of adults are allergic to certain food/s and this percentage is appearing to rise by time.
Following factors may be found responsible in causing food allergies:
1. Family history and genetic characteristics of allergies and asthma
2. Increased levels of allergen specific serum immunoglobulin i.e. IgE concentrations. (Immunoglobulin is a type of protein that fights against infection).
3. Foods such as cow’s milk, peanut, egg, fish, tree nuts, wheat and soybeans. These foods account for about 90% of all food allergy reactions.
Following symptoms may appear in food allergy:
1. Tingling in the mouth (tingling means a feel of sharp pain)
2. Swelling in the tongue and the throat (These two symptoms occur after eating fresh fruits or vegetables due to the presence of certain pollen like substances).
3. Hives (a type of skin rashes)
4. Abdominal cramps
5. Difficulty breathing
6. Diarrhoea or vomiting
Detection of the food allergies is as follows:
Some times these signs and symptoms are used to detect the food allergies.
Provocation tests are sometimes used by medical professionals to check for food allergies which involves introduction of a small amount of food allergen to check food allergy.
In skin testing, a small quantity of food extracts are placed on the arm of the back. If small hives or small bumps appear within 20 minutes, it indicates possible allergic reactions. Skin testing is not effective in severe type of eczema. In that case, blood test is performed.
Treatment strategies for food allergy are as follows:
Although there is no proper treatment for food allergies but anti-allergic medicines, such as anti-histamines, or bronchodilators may help in relieving mild food allergic reactions.
Epinephrine may be used in the treatment of severe or anaphylactic reactions. It is a hormone that relaxes airways and narrows the blood vessels to prevent possible blood loss.
But the best option for the treatment is prevention from the food causing allergy.
http://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/foodallergy.stm accessed May 15, 2011.
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/foodallergies/ accessed May 15, 2011.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001820/ accessed May 15, 2011.