Food allergies are on the rise all around the world. If we do not have an allergy ourselves, we almost definitely know someone who does. Allergies are a nuisance for many individuals, but for others, an allergic reaction can be fatal.
What is a food allergy? An unpleasant or dangerous immune system reaction after a particular food we eat. The term "allergy" is frequently misused to denote any adverse reaction to food. On the other hand, true allergies are caused by the immune system reacting to a specific protein, called an allergen, as if it were a threat to the body.
Food allergies affect 1 to 2% of adults and 4 to 8% of children. Food allergies have no cure, even though novel therapies are researched.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 established the top eight allergenic foods. In the United States, these main food allergens account for 90% of food allergy reactions: Crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soybeans, tree nuts, and wheat are all examples of main food allergens.
Food allergies are IgE-mediated (Antibodies) immunological reactions, distinguishing them from other food-related problems such as metabolic food intolerances or toxic food reactions. A variety of factors can influence the onset of a food allergy. Food allergies that exhibit themselves in a particular place can be influenced by diet and culture. For example, Codfish allergy is most common in Norway because codfish is a significant source of protein for Norwegians. Rice and soy allergies are more common in Japan, while peanut allergies are more common in the United States.
Symptoms: Symptoms of food allergies generally appear within minutes to 2 hours of ingesting the offending item. Food allergy symptoms range from minor irritation to severe, life-threatening anaphylactic shock, such as itchiness in the skin or throat.
The following are the most frequent food allergy indications and symptoms:
- Hives and Rash
- Itchy sensation in the mouth
- Face, tongue, or lip swelling
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Coughing or wheezing
- Swelling of the throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
ANAPHYLAXIS: A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis can be triggered by a food allergy in certain people. This can result in life-threatening symptoms such as:
- The airways are constricted and tightened.
- A swelling throat or the sensation of a lump in our neck that makes breathing difficult
- Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness, light-headedness or loss of consciousness
If our loved one or we suffer from food allergies, follow these guidelines to help lower our chances of becoming ill: Read food labels and stay away from foods we are allergic to. In the event of accidental consumption, learn to detect the early indications of an allergic response. Know what to do in the event of an allergic response. Make arrangements to have immediate access to the necessary treatment and medical attention.
Avoid foods that irritate us, but do not embark on a full-fledged diet cleanse unless we have a legitimate reason.
Reference: Current Understanding of food Allergens (Samuel B et.al)
M. Tech (Food Technology)
Quality Assurance and R&D