WHAT IS A FOOD ALLERGY?
A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Such as milk, nuts, wheat and many other foods. Although allergic reactions can be mild, they can also be life threatening and are all very serious.
Symptoms of a food allergy can affect different areas of the body all at the same time. Some common symptoms may include:
an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
a raised itchy red rash, sometimes know as “hives”
swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth
WHAT CAUSES FOOD ALLERGIES?
Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat. As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies. The most commonly known foods to cause an allergic reaction are:
some fruit and vegetables
Most children that have a food allergy will have experienced eczema during infancy. The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to have a food allergy.
It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often have other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.
TYPES OF FOOD ALLERGIES:
Food allergies are split into 3 types, depending on the symptoms and when they occur after coming into
contact with the allergen,
IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.
non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system. This type of allergy is often difficult to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop (up to several hours).
mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.
It’s so scary that food, something we don’t think twice about is mistaken for something else when we digest it and the body is attacking it, causing a severe reaction to an everyday thing that we do.