Food allergy

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellnesspedia

Food allergy is a immune system response that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Navigating Food Allergies and Intolerances Causes and Symptoms

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food. The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting

Causes[edit | edit source]

Food allergies occur when the immune system identifies a certain food as harmful and reacts by producing antibodies known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction can occur systemically (affecting the whole body), or it may be localized to a specific organ or tissue.

Risk Factors[edit | edit source]

While anyone can have a reaction to certain foods, food allergies are more common in people with a family history of allergies or asthma, in children, and in people with atopic dermatitis.

Prevention[edit | edit source]

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify and avoid foods that trigger it. For some people, this is a mere inconvenience, but others find it a greater hardship. Also, some foods — when used as ingredients in certain dishes — may be well-hidden.

Treatment[edit | edit source]

The only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the foods that cause signs and symptoms. However, despite your best efforts, if you accidentally eat a food that causes an allergic reaction, medications such as antihistamines may reduce your symptoms.

See Also[edit | edit source]

Food allergy Resources
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