Can Allergies Be Prevented
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent the manifestation of adult-onset allergies. As we mentioned, these allergies sometimes spring up where none existed before. Other times, exposure to the allergen triggers a reaction. For those reasons, its difficult to say with certainty which triggers you should avoid.
While you cant always prevent adult-onset allergies, you can treat them as they develop. If, for instance, you notice you get an adverse reaction after eating shellfish or peanuts, you should refrain from eating these foods right away. Instead, set up an appointment with an allergy provider who can test your to see what is causing your symptoms
In the case of food allergies, the best treatment is avoidance. For pet dander, pollen, and other standard allergy triggers, you can try medications, including steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines, to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. You can also try to keep yourself away from these allergens via lifestyle adjustments.
Most Common Food Allergens For Babies
Most severe allergic reactions to foods will happen very soon after exposure. However, some milder reactions may take up to a few hours to become apparent.
Food allergies may be more common in families with a history of allergies and associated conditions, like asthma, eczema, or even hay fever.
The great majority of food-related allergic reactions are caused by one of the following:
Though less common, some babies may be allergic to:
- certain fruits
Babies and children can outgrow their allergies over time, though allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish may be lifelong.
How To Get Tested
A food allergy will usually cause some sort of reaction every time the trigger food is eaten. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and you may not always experience the same symptoms during every reaction. Allergic reactions to food can affect the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system. It is impossible to predict how severe the next reaction might be, and all patients with food allergies should be carefully counseled about the risk of anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction that is treated with epinephrine .
While food allergies may develop at any age, most appear in early childhood. If you suspect a food allergy, see an allergist, who will take your family and medical history, decide which tests to perform and use this information to determine if a food allergy exists.
To make a diagnosis, allergists ask detailed questions about your medical history and your symptoms. Be prepared to answer questions about:
- What and how much you ate
- How long it took for symptoms to develop
- What symptoms you experienced and how long they lasted.
After taking your history, your allergist may order skin tests and/or blood tests, which indicate whether food-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies are present in your body:
Your allergist will use the results of these tests in making a diagnosis. A positive result does not necessarily indicate that there is an allergy, though a negative result is useful in ruling one out.
Understanding The Link Between Meat Allergies And Tick Bites
Alpha-gal syndrome isnât listed on the CDC website as a tick-borne disease. Scott Commins MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, says that makes sense, because this is more of an allergy than a disease. He is part of the team that first discovered that the Lone Star tick can cause a meat allergy. He did that while working at the University of Virginia with Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, MD, the doctor who discovered alpha-gal was the cause of allergic reactions to a cancer drug.
âWe had a couple of patients who described this delayed reaction to red meat,â Commins says. âAt first we were the only center reporting this, and there was a healthy amount of skepticism. But over time, an awareness of this allergy began to grow.â
Platts-Mills published his first paper on alpha-gal in 2008, and he and Commins published about the link to a meat allergy in 2009, although they say theyâve have heard of cases as far back as the 1970s. And around the same time their research was beginning, Platts-Mills himself got the meat allergy after being bitten by a number of ticks during a 5-hour hike in Virginia. Three months later, he ate two lamb chops and woke up 6 hours later in the middle of the night covered in hives.
âOur research clearly identified alpha-gal as the cause of anaphylaxis in the majority of cases where the cause was detected. Food allergies were the second leading cause, accounting for 24%,â Pattanaik says.
What We Know About Alpha
Researchers still donât know the molecular trigger for the allergic response. Platts-Mills, the UVA professor, says it can happen anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months after a tick bite when someone eats any red meat, including beef, pork, and venison.
The allergy is best diagnosed with a blood test checking a personâs sensitization to these meats. It can cause hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and a variety of digestive symptoms, including cramping, pain, and nausea. The National Institutes of Health describes an anaphylactic reaction as one that involves two or more organs. It can be stopped with epinephrine.
Commins, the UNC professor, says cases often happen to people in their 40s or 50s, but heâs published research on nearly 50 cases in children, too. This food allergy does have one big difference from most others: Unlike other food allergies that happen within seconds or minutes of having a certain food, symptoms of allergic reactions to alpha-gal arenât seen for 3 to 6 or even 8 hours.
âWe think the timing of the allergy has to do with the fat content of meat and that fat gets absorbed slowly into the bloodstream,â Commins says. âWe are actively investigating that now.â
In the meantime, researchers say itâs important that medical professionals other than allergists know about this condition. They say doctors need to understand that abdominal pain is a key marker of this allergy and that symptoms are delayed.
What Is Meningitis What Causes Meningitis
Meningitis is an infection of the meninges or coverings of the brain. This serious illness can progress very quickly and have lifelong consequences. So, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. The most frequent cause of meningitis is a viral or bacterial infection. Rarely, a fungus can cause it. Knowing the cause of meningitis is important because viral meningitis is usually less severe and generally people get better without any treatment. However, bacterial meningitis can be profoundly serious and needs to be treated with the right antibiotics. Bacterial meningitis can have some serious side effects. Symptoms can happen very fast, even within a few hours, or they can gradually develop in a day or two.
- Meningitis is a deadly disease that can develop very quickly and kill in hours. It can happen to anyone of any age.
- This disease is most common in babies, young children, and teenagers. However, cases in young adults are being increasingly reported.
Meningococcal disease causes death in about one in 10 cases. Even after bacterial meningitis is cured, some children may develop complications, such as hearing loss. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, a child with meningitis has a reasonable chance of a good recovery, though some forms of bacterial meningitis develop rapidly and have a high risk of complications.
If Your Asthma Symptoms Are Caused By Allergies Take Steps To Control Knownor Potential Triggers In Your Environment
Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches, and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic.
Reduce your outdoor activities when the pollen count or ozone level is high.
Choose foods that dont contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms.
Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.
In order to determine relevant triggers, you may want to seek consultation with an allergist who can further define these triggers.
In addition, anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their internist about getting a pneumonia vaccination.
How Will My Veterinarian Diagnose Food Allergies
The chronic itching associated with food allergies can also be caused by a number of other conditions, such as mites, bacterial infection, yeast infection, or other allergies. Therefore, testing is required in order to determine the cause of your cat’s skin condition. The most reliable test for diagnosing food allergies is a food trial. This test involves feeding a special diet, one which does not contain any proteins that your cat has been previously exposed to, for 6-8 weeks. A food trial diet may take a number of forms:
- a hydrolyzed-protein diet ,
- a commercially-available novel protein diet , or
- a home-cooked novel protein diet .
Your veterinarian will help you determine the best option for your cat.
While your cat is on a food trial, she must eat ONLY the food that has been recommended by your veterinarian. It is very important that no other treats, supplements, or other edible products be fed during the food trial. Be vigilant about cleaning dishes off the table after your family meals, because even licking a plate clean may interfere with the results of a food trial. Your cat can only receive the prescription food, water, and unflavored prescribed medications during a food trial.
“If your cat’s signs resolve with the food trial AND return within one week of a food challenge, your cat has been definitively diagnosed with a food allergy.”
Treatment Of Allergic Reactions
Treatment for allergic reactions varies according to the cause and severity . Lab tests are used to diagnose allergies, but not allergic reactions . The diagnosis of an allergic reaction is based on the patients symptoms and history of exposure, especially in cases of known allergies. If the reaction is mild to moderate, simple treatments such as reassurance for anxiety and cool compresses or hydrocortisone cream on the itching areas are often beneficial. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine may be useful. Some people with severe allergies may also use chewable chlorpheniramine maleate and self-inject prescription adrenalin at the first sign of a reaction. In cases of anaphylaxis, immediate emergency treatment is essential — dial 911 at the first sign of anaphylaxis.
Treating Itchy Skin And Ear Issues Caused By Food Allergies
The only way to treat a food allergy is to remove the offending food from the dogs diet, but there are options for temporarily treating the symptoms caused by food allergies.
Oral and topical medications are sometimes prescribed to help minimize itching. Any secondary problems, like skin or ear infections, will also have to be addressed.
If youre concerned about any symptoms your dog is experiencing, or youre simply wondering whether the food youre offering is the best choice for your pet, speak with your veterinarian.
Early Allergen Introduction And How It May Help
Experts recommend exposing babies to high-risk foods before they reach their first birthdays. Research from 2015 supports the idea that earlier exposure to peanuts, for example, may lower the risk of developing a peanut allergy later on.
So, for example, youll want to cook eggs and prepare peanuts in age-appropriate ways and offer them up to twice per week.
How to do it:
- Try first rubbing a very small amount of an allergenic food on your childs lips to observe any signs of reaction.
- If all looks good, add around a quarter teaspoon of the allergenic food to your babys usual puree and mix well.
- Over time, increase the amount of the allergenic food if you dont observe an allergic reaction.
- Dont rub foods into your babys skin. It doesnt help with identifying allergies and it might actually increase the risk of your baby developing an allergy to that particular food.
If you have a family history of food allergies, speak with your doctor about early introduction to certain foods. Some pediatricians may suggest you give the food under medical supervision in case of a severe reaction.
Was It Something You Ate How To Tell If You Really Have A Food Allergy
Youve always enjoyed shrimp, but then one evening after savoring some scampi, you break out in itchy hives. Could it have been the shellfish?
Most allergic reactions happen quickly, right after youve eaten a food, says Princess Ogbogu, M.D., associate professor of medicine and director of allergy and immunology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Early allergies to ingredients such as eggs, milk, and soy often resolve during childhood, but they can resurface later. And at any point in your life, you can develop new food allergies or intolerances .
In fact, a study from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that 51 percent of people with allergies developed at least one of them as an adult.
The good news: Food allergies affect less than 4 percent of adults. The number of people who have a food intolerance is probably higher, Ogbogu says.
Although the terms allergy and intolerance are frequently used interchangeably, theyre significantly differentand getting the right diagnosis will ensure that you find and follow the correct treatment plan.
Heres what you need to know to determine why a food is not agreeing with you and how to protect yourself from dangerous reactions or frequent indigestion.
Is Meningitis Contagious
The contagiousness is related to the specific agent that causes the disease. The following is a summary of five types of meningitis and how they may or may not be contagious.
- Viral meningitis: Meningitis caused by many viruses is usually contagious. However, certain viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes are usually not spread person to person, so they are not contagious.
- Bacterial meningitis: Bacterial meningitis is usually contagious; some bacteria more highly contagious than others.
- Fungal meningitis: Fungal meningitis is not considered to be contagious.
- Parasitic meningitis: Parasitic meningitis, which is rare , is not considered to be contagious from person to person.
- Noninfectious meningitis: Noninfectious meningitis is not a result of infection but is from an underlying condition or disease and not considered contagious. Causes of noninfectious meningitis include cancers in and around the brain or spinal cord, drugs, head injury, and autoimmune disease .
What Is A Food Allergy
The term food allergy is used to describe an abnormal immune-mediated reaction to an antigen within food. In other words, food allergy refers to a reaction caused by the immune system to a specific protein found within food.
Although we understand the mechanism by which food allergies occur, it is not known why these allergies occur. We do not understand why some cats develop food allergies and others do not.
When To Call A Professional
Symptoms of an acute severe allergic reaction such as rapid pulse, labored breathing and facial swelling require an immediate visit to an emergency care facility. Other reactions should be reported promptly to your physician so that your treatment can be evaluated and you can avoid the medication that caused the reaction.
Skin And Ear Problems In Dogs With Food Allergies
Skin problems are common in dogs with food allergies. At first glance, this seems kind of odd, but it makes more sense when you think about how people react to food allergies.
Dogs with unchecked food allergies may also have trouble with their ears.
Some of the most common health issues associated with legitimate dog food allergies are:
Similar symptoms may be caused by environmental allergies to triggers like pollen, mold, and house mites, but these, at least to start with, are often seasonal.
For this reason, its important to track whether your dogs symptoms ebb and flow with the changing of the seasons.
Allergy Can Be Inherited
Children who have one family member with allergic diseases have a 20 to 40 per cent higher risk of developing allergy. If there are two or more family members with allergic diseases, the risk increases to 50 to 80 per cent.
Most of the time, children with food allergy do not have parents with food allergy. However, if a family has one child with food allergy, their brothers and sisters are at a slightly higher risk of having food allergy themselves, although that risk is still relatively low.
How Are Allergies Treated
The first step is to avoid the things you are allergic to and try over-the-counter antihistamines. If that doesnt work, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following options:
- Prescription antihistamines Most antihistamines are now over the counter, but some are still only available by prescription.
- Nasal sprays Medications that reduce the swelling in your nose, which cause a stuffy, runny, and itchy nose.
- Inhalers Medications inhaled into the lungs that open your airways. Inhalers can include daily use or rescue inhalers used for immediate symptom relief.
- Allergy injections or immunotherapy A series of injections to desensitize your immune system to the allergens which trigger your symptoms. The goal of the treatment is to retrain the immune system to recognize the allergen as not dangerous, decreasing the frequency or severity of allergy symptoms.
Allergies can be unpleasant no matter how old you are, but your doctor can help you determine what is triggering your allergies and develop a treatment plan that works for you.
How Are Food Allergies Treated
Food allergies, like other allergies, cannot be cured. Instead, they are managed through avoidance of foods that trigger allergy flare-ups.
Once your pet has been diagnosed with a food allergy, you may choose to continue the food that you used during the food trial for long term maintenance. Alternatively, you may be able to work with your veterinarian to find a different food that will provide similar relief from symptoms. Every cat differs in the severity of their food allergies. Some cats may react dramatically to even trace levels of an offending allergen, requiring carefully controlled hypoallergenic foods, while other cats may have a higher tolerance and may do well on a different flavor of a typical cat food.
“Food allergies, like other allergies, cannot be cured.”
Regardless, once you have found a diet that works for your cat, you will need to continue that diet long-term, avoiding cat treats and other foods that may trigger an allergic reaction.
With careful dietary control, the prognosis for cats with food allergies is typically good.
Seconds Minutes Or Hours
Some allergic reactions begin immediately and the patient will begin to react within seconds or minutes of exposure . The reaction may be delayed by several hours, however, especially if it is a food. On rare occasions, allergic reactions will not develop for 24 hours or more, according to MedlinePlus . The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases notes that, occasionally, symptoms will go away and recur several hours later . The most serious form of allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, can occur within minutes . Most of these symptoms result from the release of histamine, a chemical in the body.
Are Allergies Worse In Childhood Or Adulthood
Per the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and 2013 data, 28 million kids across the United States have allergies. As many as 50 million adults may get reactions to allergens as well.
While more adults have allergies in the United States than children, is there an age group that has it worse? Research that appeared in a 2012 article at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Massachusetts suggests that adults may be the most at risk for intense, serious symptoms. Adult behaviors such as taking certain medications and drinking alcohol may increase risk for severe anaphylaxis. Exercise and having asthma can also increase reaction severity. Of course, young children who cannot communicate symptoms can also have severe reactions which go unnoticed and progress to dangerous levels.
A severe allergic reaction, which can be triggered by foods or venom , is called anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency condition in which the patient goes into shock, cannot breathe, and may have vomiting, nausea, and skin rashes. Anaphylaxis can occur instantaneously or sometimes minutes after eating an allergen or being stung. Epinephrine can control cases of anaphylaxis that are caught immediately. The longer the patient goes without treatment, the greater the likelihood that death can occur. For this reason patients with a history of severe anaphylaxis are encouraged to always have an in date epinephrine injector available.
Treating Food Allergy Or Intolerance
The easiest way to treat a food allergy or intolerance is to eliminate the offending food/s from the diet. Sometimes, the body can tolerate the food if it is avoided for a time, then reintroduced in small doses, particularly for food intolerances. Before you eliminate or reintroduce foods, seek advice from a specialist doctor and dietitian.
Symptoms Of Food Intolerance
Symptoms of food intolerance can include:
- burning sensations on the skin
- tightness across the face and chest
- breathing problems asthma-like symptoms
- persistent dizziness or collapse
- becoming pale and floppy .
Several factors can influence the severity of anaphylaxis, including exercise, heat, alcohol, the amount of food eaten, and how food is prepared and consumed.To prevent severe injury or death, a person with anaphylaxis requires an injection of adrenaline . People who are considered by their doctor to be at risk of anaphylaxis are prescribed an autoinjector which contains a single fixed dose of adrenaline. They are designed to be used by non-medical people and should be administered into the outer mid-thigh muscle in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Adrenaline autoinjectors are also available directly from a pharmacy.
What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
Starting A Food Trial
Starting your dog on a food trial means your pet will eat a prescription diet and absolutely nothing else for a couple of months to see if symptoms resolve.
If they do, some veterinarians will suggest going back to the dogs old diet to see if symptoms return to ensure that the dog is truly allergic to one or more ingredients in their regular diet.
How Are Allergies Diagnosed
Some allergies are fairly easy to identify but others are less obvious because they can be similar to other conditions.
If your child has cold-like symptoms lasting longer than a week or two or develops a “cold” at the same time every year, talk with your doctor, who might diagnose an allergy and prescribe medicines, or may refer you to an allergist for allergy tests.
To find the cause of an allergy, allergists usually do skin tests for the most common environmental and food allergens. A skin test can work in one of two ways:
After about 15 minutes, if a lump surrounded by a reddish area appears at the site, the test is positive.
Blood tests may be done instead for kids with skin conditions, those who are on certain medicines, or those who are very sensitive to a particular allergen.
Even if testing shows an allergy, a child also must have symptoms to be diagnosed with an allergy. For example, a toddler who has a positive test for dust mites and sneezes a lot while playing on the floor would be considered allergic to dust mites.