A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein – an allergen – as a threat and attacks it. Unlike other types of food disorders, such as intolerances, food allergies are “IgE mediated.” This means that your immune system produces abnormally large amounts of an antibody called immunoglobulin E — IgE for short. IgE antibodies fight the “enemy” food allergens by releasing histamine and other chemicals, which trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
What foods most commonly cause an Allergic Reaction?
Although nearly any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, only eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions in the United States. These foods are: Peanut, Tree nuts, Milk, Egg, Wheat, Soy, Fish, Shell fish.
Mild symptoms may include one or more of the following:
● Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)● Eczema (a persistent dry, itchy rash)● Redness of the skin or around the eyes● Itchy mouth or ear canal● Nausea or vomiting● Diarrhea● Stomach pain● Nasal congestion or a runny nose● Sneezing● Slight, dry cough● Odd taste in mouth● Uterine contractions
Severe symptoms may include one or more of the following:
● Obstructive swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat● Trouble swallowing● Shortness of breath or wheezing● Turning blue● Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out)● Loss of consciousness● Chest pain● A weak or “thread” pulse● Sense of “impending doom”
How are food allergies treated?