Food Allergies

. Posted in ALLERGIES

Another category of allergies is allergic reactions to specific foods. Allergies to food can cause skin reactions like hives and eczema. As well, the food allergens can cause swollen lips and upper - and lower - respiratory symptoms like allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Food allergies are more common in people who have other allergies. Food allergies have been witnessed since the beginning of time and can be fatal. At present, the only treatment for food allergies is complete avoidance.

Food allergies are often misunderstood and confused with other food-related sensitivities, including the following. Adverse reactions to foods and additives are non-life-threatening reactions to foods ingested. For example, some people have a strong reaction to monosodium glutamate (MSG), a chemically produced flavor enhancer often found in Chinese restaurant food (otherwise known as Kwok syndrome). After eating these foods, some people develop headaches, aching muscles in the face and head, or a tingly sensation. This is a reaction, but not an allergic phenomenon.

Food allergy or hypersensitivity to a food refers to a true allergic reaction involving the immune system. An example is hives caused by
eating shrimp. Most often the substance causing the allergic reaction is a protein.

Food anaphylaxis is a true allergy involving IgE and can be fatal. The symptoms caused by the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators include hives, throat swelling, a drop in blood pressure, wheezing, and abdominal cramping. Tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish are the most common agents leading to anaphylaxis, but you can also develop a food allergy to any food group, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains. There is a similar reaction without IgE involvement called anaphylactoid, meaning that it resembles anaphylaxis but without the IgE involvement. The most common agent that produces this type of reaction is the strawberry.

Metabolic food reactions/food intolerance occurs if you are unable to properly digest certain foods. Milk and milk products are common foods that cause this type of reaction, defined as lactose intolerance. This reaction is not an immune-mediated reaction. These people develop stomach cramps and diarrhea because they lack an enzyme known as lactase, which digests lactose sugar in milk. This is not an allergy.

Food poisoning is a reaction to a bacteria or a parasite, or possibly a reaction to a chemical in a food. This usually causes nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, and can cause fever. Food poisoning usually resolves itself within 24 hours.

A chemical reaction can be caused by an ingredient in a food. For example, many people are adversely affected by caffeine. They notice that when they eat chocolate or coffee they can become hyper and suffer from insomnia. The reaction to sugar is more controversial: It has been shown to affect some children by increasing their hyperactivity and/or anxiety. There has been a direct correlation to sugar and adrenaline in some of these people, but the reason is not clear. This response is not linked to an allergic reaction.

Allergic reaction to medication is a true allergic reaction, classified with food allergies because the medicine is ingested. Many people are allergic to medications as common as aspirin and some types of penicillin. It is important to keep careful records of medications that have caused true allergic reactions, including hives, throat swelling or closure,
and wheezing. It is often difficult to discern a true medicine allergy from an adverse reaction.

CAID AND FOOD IRRITANTS

While true food allergies can be severe enough to cause anaphylaxis, many foods irritate the sinus system enough to cause discomfort. For example, milk products are known to increase mucus production and change its consistency, thereby exacerbating sinusitis. Alcohol consumption can make some people’s sinus conditions flare: Their nasal and sinus membranes swell and polyp formation can occur. This swelling causes significant obstruction, mucus stagnation, and infection.

Sinus Tips:
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