When It Comes To Food Allergy Safety Its A Matter Of Faact
Food Allergies are REAL and can be FATAL! Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that comes on quickly and has the potential to become life-threatening.
Avoiding Allergens is a MUST! Never assume something is safe – ALWAYS read ALL labels for their ingredient and manufacturing information.
Allergies to Food are NOT a joke! NO child should ever be bullied, teased or excluded, especially due to their food allergy.
Cross-Contact CAN happen! Proper cleaning of hands, cookware, utensils, and also surfaces is vital for preventing exposure to allergens.
Together, We CAN Make a Difference! FAACT is here to provide support and helpful resources that you can easily learn, print, and share!
What Are The Symptoms Of Anaphylaxis
Symptoms of anaphylaxis generally include two or more of these body systems.
- Skin: hives, swelling , itching, warmth, redness
- Respiratory : coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms , trouble swallowing
- Gastrointestinal : nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
- Cardiovascular : paler than normal skin colour/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizziness or lightheadedness, shock
- Other: anxiety, sense of doom , headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste
However, a drop in blood pressure without other symptoms may also indicate anaphylaxis. It is important to know that anaphylaxis can occur without hives.
What Is A Food Allergy
When you have a food allergy, your body thinks certain foods are trying to harm you. Your body fights back by setting off an allergic reaction. A mild reaction is no fun, but it isn’t dangerous. A serious reaction can be deadly. But quick treatment and emergency management can prevent death.
Allergies tend to run in families. You are more likely to have a food allergy if other people in your family have allergies like hay fever, asthma, or eczema .
Food allergies are more common in children than in adults. Children sometimes outgrow their food allergies, especially allergies to milk, eggs, or soy. But if you develop a food allergy as an adult, you will most likely have it for life.
Food allergy versus food intolerance
Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies. True food allergies are a reaction to food or food additives by your body’s immune system.
Many people think they have a food allergy, but in fact they have a food intolerance. Food intolerance is much more common. It can cause symptoms like an upset stomach, but it does not involve the immune system. A food intolerance does not cause an allergic reaction. A food intolerance can make you feel bad, but it is not dangerous. A food allergy can be dangerous.
Children And Food Allergies
It’s important to take special care with children who have food allergies. A child with severe food allergies may have a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to even a tiny amount of a food allergen. Your child should always wear a medical alert bracelet. Talk to your doctor about an Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan.
Make sure that all caregivers :
- Know about your child’s food allergy.
- Can recognize the symptoms of a food allergy.
- Know where the epinephrine shot is kept and how to use it.
- Know to call 911 immediately.
Children may have only mild symptoms in the first few minutes after they eat the food allergen, but they may have severe symptoms in 10 to 60 minutes. Children always should be observed in a hospital for several hours after a reaction.
Make sure that your child:
- Always wears a medical alert bracelet.
- Always carries epinephrine. Children at risk of severe allergic reactions should keep their epinephrine at school or daycare and at home. Older, mature children should be taught to give themselves the shot.
Although your child needs to avoid certain foods, he or she still needs to eat healthy foods. A dietitian can tell you which foods are important for your child’s health.
Know The Symptoms Of Food Allergies
If you are allergic to a food you have eaten, you may experience a variety of symptoms. These symptoms are not always present or the same for every person or reaction and can vary depending on a number of actors, including the amount of food allergen eaten.
If you are allergic to a food that you have eaten, symptoms may appear from within a few minutes to a few hours.
Symptoms of food allergies , can include:
- Loss of consciousness
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How Do Food Allergies Affect Digestion
True food allergies are relatively rare, but food sensitivities and celiac disease are on the rise.
Everyday Health: The rates of food allergies continue to rise. What are the most common food allergies, and how do they affect digestion?
Food allergies are estimated to affect 6 to 8 percent of children in the United States and 3 to 4 percent of adults. Many children who demonstrate allergy to milk protein outgrow them. In adults, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and egg are the most common. Of note, those with peanut and tree nut allergies are unlikely to outgrow them, including the recently increasingly prevalent sesame allergy. Symptoms are usually acute, but can be chronic and include the gamut of allergic responses in the entire body. In the digestive tract, symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, odynophagia , diarrhea, or any combination of these symptoms.
Kenneth Brown, MD
More commonly, people have intolerances to foods, rather than allergies. An example of food intolerance is when someone has bloating and diarrhea after consuming lactose. These people have low levels of the enzyme lactase, which prevents the lactose sugar from being broken down.
Lisa Ganjhu, DO
Lisa Pichney, MD
The eight most common food allergens are milk, wheat, soy, shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. Celiac disease involves an allergy or sensitivity to gluten, which is found in wheat. Patients with celiac disease may malabsorb macronutrients and become ill.
How Is A Food Allergy Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and any family food allergies. And he or she will do a physical examination. Your doctor will also ask what symptoms you have. He or she may want you to write down everything you eat and any reactions you have. Your doctor will consider other possibilities that could be confused with food allergies, such as a food intolerance.
Because food allergies can be confused with other problems, it is important for your doctor to do a test to confirm that you have a food allergy. Your doctor may first start out with either skin testing or a blood test to determine what you are allergic to. But an oral food challenge is the best way to diagnose a food allergy. In an oral food challenge, you will eat a variety of foods that may or may not cause an allergic reaction. Your doctor watches to see if and when a reaction occurs.
A skin prick test can help to find out which foods will cause a reaction. The doctor will put a little bit of liquid on your skin and then prick your skin. The liquid has some of the possible food allergen in it. If your skin swells up like a mosquito bite, your doctor knows that you are allergic to that food. Your doctor may also do blood tests to look for the chemicals in your blood that cause an allergic reaction.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Food Allergies
You can live a healthy life with a food allergy. If you have a food allergy, you need to carefully avoid all foods and ingredients that cause allergic reactions.
You may also need to take a nutritional supplement to replace any nutrients lost by avoiding your trigger foods. Speak with your healthcare provider or dietitian before starting a new eating plan.
How Can I Avoid Food Allergy Triggers
To avoid the foods you are allergic to, you must carefully check the ingredient labels on food products. Food manufacturers must clearly state on the label if a product contains any of the eight most common food allergens.
Some labels use precautions such as may contain or made on shared equipment. If you have any questions about what you can and cant eat, ask your healthcare provider.
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What To Do If Symptoms Occur
The appearance of symptoms after eating certain foods may be a sign of a food allergy. The food that caused these symptoms should be avoided, and the affected person should contact a health care provider for appropriate testing and evaluation.
If you or a loved one has food allergies, use these 4 tips to help reduce your risk of getting sick:
Treatment For Food Allergies
The main way to deal with food allergies is to avoid them. For highly allergic people, even tiny amounts of an allergen can trigger a reaction. Less-sensitive people may be able to have small amounts of a food that they’re allergic to.
Once you’ve identified the food, you have to stop eating it. That may mean reading long, detailed ingredient lists because many allergy-triggering foods are in things you wouldn’t expect to find them in. Peanuts, for example, may be included for protein, and eggs are in some salad dressings. At restaurants, you might have to ask about the ingredients that are in specific dishes or in the kitchen.
Even people who are very careful can make a mistake, so if you have severe food allergies, you must be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. If you’ve had anaphylactic reactions to a food, you should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. And you should carry two auto-injectors of epinephrine and be ready to use them if you think a reaction is starting. Mild symptoms such as tingling in your mouth and throat or an upset stomach might not be an allergic reaction, but you should still give yourself an injection. It won’t hurt, and it could save your life. Then call 911 or get a ride to the emergency room.
- Antihistamines for digestive issues, hives, and sneezing and a runny nose
- Bronchodilators for tightened airways or asthma-like symptoms
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If Allergic To One Food Do You Have To Avoid Related Foods
A food allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a food. The most common type is when the immune system makes a type of antibody called IgE to proteins in a particular food. This is an IgE-mediated food allergy. When exposure to the food occurs, symptoms start quickly. Symptoms include any or several of the following: skin itching, hives, swelling of the skin, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty , or anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and progressive. Symptoms of anaphylaxis involve more than one organ system from the above list. They can also include dizziness or loss of consciousness and other serious, potentially life-threatening complications. Anaphylaxis can occur with any IgE-mediated food allergy.
The most common food allergens are milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
Cross-reactivity occurs when the proteins in one substance are like the proteins in another. As a result, the immune system sees them as the same. In the case of food allergies, cross-reactivity can occur between one food and another. Cross-reactivity can also happen between pollen and foods or latex and foods.
How To Reduce Childrens Risk Of Food Allergies
You can take some simple steps that might help reduce your childs risk of developing food allergies.
Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet while pregnant or breastfeeding When youre pregnant or breastfeeding, its important to eat a wide variety of healthy foods including fruit, vegies, grains, protein and dairy or calcium-enriched products.
Avoiding foods that commonly cause allergies for example, eggs and peanuts while youre pregnant or breastfeeding wont reduce the risk of your baby developing allergies. In fact, avoiding too many foods can be dangerous, because your baby wont get important nutrients.
BreastfeedBreastmilk is best, so its recommended that you exclusively breastfeed your baby until its time to introduce solid foods at around 6 months old. Its best to keep breastfeeding until your baby is at least 12 months old, if you can.
Talk to a doctor or nurse about infant formula For parents bottle-feeding with infant formula, theres no evidence that giving babies hydrolysed infant formula or partially hydrolysed infant formula instead of standard cows milk formula prevents allergies. But some evidence suggests that these formulas might help to manage cows milk allergy.
If youre not sure what formula is best for your baby, talk to your child and family health nurse, GP or paediatrician.
These foods include well-cooked egg, wheat , peanut butter, tree nut paste , soy products , sesame, shellfish and other seafood.
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How Do Adult Onset Allergies Develop
If youre predisposed to a certain type of allergy, but youve never been around that allergen before, it can seem like your symptoms have materialized out of nowhere. Say, for instance, you never had pets growing up. Youre allergic to pet dander, but youd never know it. Then, your roommate decides to get a dog, and your allergies start going crazy.
So yes, even though it may seem like you just woke up with allergies one day, theres usually a medical explanation for why its happened. Unfortunately, that explanation can be difficult to pinpoint, especially when youre simply becoming aware of an allergy you may have had for some time.
In other cases, allergies do develop on their own. You may notice changes suddenly, or monitor a gradual shift in your reaction to a specific substance. Adult onset allergies typically develop differently in different people.
What Increases Your Risk
You have a greater chance of developing food allergies if you:
- Have a family history of allergy. If both of your parents have allergies, you are more likely to have allergies.
- Have another allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis or asthma.
- Are young. Infants and children have more food allergies than adults.
You have a greater risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction from food allergy if you:
- Have asthma.
- Under-utilize or delay the use of epinephrine.
- Have an underlying cardiac disease.
- Have had a previous anaphylactic reaction.
If you or your child has a severe food allergy, always carry epinephrine and know how to use it. You should also wear a medical alert bracelet at all times. Being prepared to immediately deal with a severe allergic reaction reduces the risk of death.
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Other Than Oral Ingestion
Sensitization can occur through the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract and possibly the skin. Damage to the skin in conditions such as eczema has been proposed as a risk factor for sensitization.
While the most obvious route for an allergic exposure is oral ingestion, some reactions are possible through external exposure. Peanut allergies are much more common in adults who had oozing and crusted skin rashes as infants. Airborne particles in a farm- or factory-scale peanut shelling or crushing environment, or from cooking, can produce respiratory effects in exposed allergic individuals. For seafood allergy, an industry review estimated that 28.5 million people worldwide were engaged in some aspect of the seafood industry: fishing, aquaculture, processing and industrial cooking. Exposure to fish allergenic proteins includes inhalation of wet aerosols from fresh fish handling, inhalation of dry aerosols from fishmeal processing, and dermal contact through skin breaks and cuts. Respiratory allergies are an occupational disease that develop in food service workers working with baked goods, known as “bakers asthma”). Previous studies detected 40 allergens from wheat some cross-reacted with rye proteins and a few cross-reacted with grass pollens.
Oral Immunotherapy For Peanut Allergy
If your 4-17-year-old has a peanut allergy, a new treatment using peanut protein powder may offer additional protection. Palforzia is the only oral immunotherapy product currently approved by the FDA for treatment of peanut allergy. This type of treatment is called oral peanut immunotherapy. It slowly exposes an allergic child to peanuts so their immune system is less likely to react after an accidental ingestion of peanut product. That means if your child accidentally eats something containing peanuts, the treatment may protect them from a severe reaction. Even with this treatment, your child must continue to avoid peanuts and carry two epinephrine auto-injectors.
Its important to understand:
- The treatment is not a cure your child will still be allergic to peanuts and must avoid them.
- It will not enable your child to eat peanuts or peanut products anytime they wish.
- It works only while your child is taking it on a daily basis.
- Your child will need to continue to carry two epinephrine auto-injectors and you and your child will still need to read food labels.
- Reactions can occur due to the treatment itself.
For children with peanut allergy and their parents, the benefits may be worth the drawbacks. Discuss peanut oral immunotherapy with your allergist if your child is interested.
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Do Infants And Children Have Problems With Food Allergy
- Most allergies to foods begin in the first or second year of life.
- While some of these reactions may resolve over time , other food allergies acquired in infancy typically persist throughout life.
- Allergies to milk or soy formula sometimes occur in infants and young children.
- These early allergies sometimes do not involve the usual hives or asthma but rather can cause symptoms in babies resembling infantile colic, and perhaps blood in the stool, or poor growth.
- The clinical picture of infantile colic, which usually starts within one month of birth, is that of a crying child who sleeps poorly at night. The cause of colic is uncertain.
- A variety of psychosocial and dietary factors have been implicated, however, and allergy to milk or soy has been proposed as a cause of colic in a minority of infants with colic.
- In infants, food allergy is usually diagnosed by observing the effect of changing the infant’s diet rarely, by using a food challenge.
- If the baby is on cow’s milk, the doctor will suggest a change to soy formula or breast-feeding only, if possible.
- If the soy causes an allergic reaction, the baby can be placed on an elemental formula. These formulas are processed proteins and carbohydrates, basically amino acids and sugars, and contain few, if any, allergens.