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What Are Common Food Allergies

Allergenic Foods And Their Allergens With Links To Informall

Food Allergy & how it affects SKIN | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment-Dr.Rajdeep Mysore |Doctors’ Circle
The Big-8

A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-81 and comprises milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean. These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States and must be declared on any processed food according to the USA food allergen labeling act 1. In addition labeling of the Big-8 is mandatory according to EU, Canadian, Japanese and Australian / New Zealand regulations, all of which follow Codex Alimentarius recommendations.

Allergic consumers may accidentally encounter problem foods as several of the Big-8 are often used in processed products and can be “hidden”.

For a detailed description of the individual members of this group please follow the links.


Q : What Is Food Allergy

A food allergy is when the immune system reacts to a food , which is usually harmless. The immune system produces allergy antibodies called Immunoglobulin E that can result in symptoms.

A positive food allergy test means that a person’s immune system has produced an antibody response to that food. This is known as sensitisation. It is possible to have sensitisation without allergy, which means that the person can eat the food without any symptoms. For this reason, food allergy should be confirmed by a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.

Food allergy occurs in around 10% of infants, 4-8% of children, and about 2% of adults in Australia and New Zealand. The most common food allergens are cow’s milk , egg, peanut, tree nuts, sesame, soy, fish, shellfish and wheat. Almost any substance that is eaten can trigger an allergic reaction.

Mild or moderate food allergic reactions are common in Australia and New Zealand. Severe allergic reactions due to food allergy are less common and deaths from anaphylaxis are rare. Most deaths from anaphylaxis can be prevented by:

  • Careful food allergen avoidance
  • Correct posture during a reaction and
  • Prompt administration of adrenaline .

Is Your Cats Food Giving Them Allergies

If you suspect your cat is allergic to his or her food, you should take him or her to the vet for an allergy test. During the test, the vet will give your cat an animal food that is known to be harmful to your cat, and he or she will examine the animal for any further signs of allergic reactions. If they do, the vet may be able to identify the source of the allergy.

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Feline Dermatitis: A Common Allergy

Food allergies are frequently associated with skin irritation in cats. A cats skin erupts in small, pale, fluid-filled lumps, which are usually accompanied by an itching sensation that indicates the presence of an allergy, a substance that has an abnormally strong reaction to immunogens in the animal. Cats with dermatitis can develop lumps on their heads, neck, and back, but they can also develop lumps on their hips and shoulders. This article will provide you with a general overview of the symptoms and signs of feline dermatitis. You have itching and scratching all the time. This type of hair thinning is not uncommon. Lesions or patches of skin br> The redness or swelling of a skin patch is the result of a process known as hardening.

What Is A Food Allergen

Food Allergies

The bodys immune system is supposed to identify and destroy harmful germs as a self-defense mechanism. However, a food allergen is a food that the immune system mistakenly identifies as harmful.

Due to this overreaction to a safe food item, the immune system releases chemicals, such as histamine, to cause inflammation. Exposure to even a very small amount of the food allergen can trigger a reaction. For some, this reaction may be minor and mildly uncomfortable, but for others, it can cause life-threatening reactions.

Food allergies can develop over time or be identified at a young age. Family history does increase the chances of developing a food allergy.

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The 8 Most Common Food Intolerances

Unlike some allergies, food intolerances arent life-threatening. However, they can be very problematic for those affected.

Food intolerances and sensitivities are extremely common and seem to be on the rise .

In fact, its estimated that up to 20% of the worlds population may have a food intolerance .

Food intolerances and sensitivities can be hard to diagnose due to their wide range of symptoms.

This article reviews the most common types of food sensitivities and intolerances, their related symptoms and foods to avoid.

What Are The 20 Most Allergic Foods Top Food Allergies

Common food allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat.

Food allergies are very common and occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies proteins in certain foods as a threat, releasing chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction. Most food allergies develop in childhood but can also develop in adulthood in rare cases.

Here are 20 of the top food allergies.

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Restaurant Protocol For Food Allergens

Living with a food allergy doesnt mean you dont go to restaurants. Due to this, its important for restaurants to take protective measures to ensure the safety of diners. Weve outlined best practices for serving customers with food allergies, but theres more that you can do to make your restaurant allergy-friendly.

Besides contamination prevention, restaurant operators can optimize their current menu . Below are some helpful tips:

  • Include ingredients lists for menu items. Have ingredients lists on hand that can clarify exactly what goes into each dish, so the customer can be certain they dont come into contact with their food allergen.
  • Highlight when dishes contain common food allergens. Cross-check your menu with the top 8 most common food allergens and include a note for those dishes.
  • Offer food substitutions. If you can make the same meal gluten-free or milk-free, let them know on the menu. Your customer will appreciate the extra option.

In addition to improving your restaurant menu, its also essential to train front-of-house staff on how to serve customers with food allergies and what to do in the case of an allergic reaction. These procedures help create a welcoming environment and could potentially save a life.

What Causes Food Allergies

The Most Common Allergy In The World

Food allergies happen when the immune system the body’s defence against infection mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.

As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.

Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

  • some fruit and vegetables

Most children that have a food allergy will have experienced eczema during infancy. The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to have a food allergy.

It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often have other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.

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Medications For Food Allergies

If you are diagnosed with a food allergy, your doctor may prescribe one or more medications:

  • Epinephrine auto-injectors are for people who have severe or anaphylactic allergic reactions to foods. These should be with the person at all times. Family members and friends should also be trained how to use these in case of emergency.
  • Antihistamines are for less severe allergic reactions or to be used in conjunction with epinephrine auto-injectors. Medications that are related to antihistamines, including H2 blockers such as Famotidine, can also be taken.
  • Corticosteroids can be taken to decrease swelling that occurs from allergic reactions, and may be prescribed individually or with other allergy medications.

What Else Should I Know

If you have food allergies of any kind, you’ll become an expert in reading food labels. Makers of foods sold in the United States must state whether foods contain any of the top common allergens.

Label information helps if you’re buying packaged foods, but what about when you eat away from home? If you have a food allergy, tell the people serving you know about it. Most of the time, you can’t stop there: Ask what each food on a menu or in the display case contains. If the people helping you don’t know, see if they can find out .

You’ll also need to be aware of other food pitfalls, such as the possibility that the food you’re allergic to could get into other items from cutting surfaces, shared utensils, etc.

Coping with a food allergy can be hard. If you know someone with food allergy, show your support and understanding. Some people with food allergies may feel left out or awkward. And if you have a food allergy, let your friends know. Chances are, they’ll understand and look out for you.

You can learn more about managing food allergies online at:

Recommended Reading: What Should You Avoid Before Allergy Testing

What Are Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities involve your digestive system. They usually happen when you canât break down or absorb something you eat.

Theyâre much more common than food allergies. Theyâre also harder to track, since symptoms such as cramps, bloating, and diarrhea may not show up right away.

You can react to almost any food. Lactose, a sugar in milk and other dairy products, is common one. Millions of people, especially of Asian descent, lack the enzyme needed to digest it. You can also be sensitive to:

  • Artificial colors and flavors
  • Sulfites in wine and beer

Then thereâs a big group of foods called FODMAPs, which is short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are carbs found in many healthy foods that some people canât digest.

Research suggests that people who are sensitive to some items in a food group may be fine with others. For example, you may not be able to drink milk, but yogurt and hard cheese might be OK. It also depends on how much of a problem food you eat. Unlike food allergies, most people can handle small amounts of foods theyâre sensitive to. Low-FODMAP diets describe exactly how much of each food you can safely eat.

How To Feed A Dog With Food Allergies

Do You Have One? These Are The Eight Major Food Allergies

Once youve determined the offending items in your dogs diet, the next step is avoiding them as much as possible. You can use prescription food from your veterinarian, make your own food from scratch, or you can try a limited ingredient diet. A roundup of quality limited-ingredient foods for dogs with allergies can be found here.

You can also keep a look out for dog food using hydrolyzed proteins, which is a fancy way of saying that the protein is broken down molecularly so theres nothing left of the potential allergen.

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Q Which Food Allergies Tend To Occur In Childhood Later In Life

A. Any allergy can appear in childhood, but most common are cows milk, wheat, eggs and soy.

A child may outgrow an allergy, particularly cows milk, Gardner says. But generally, if theyre still reacting to a food at age 5, theyre less likely to outgrow it.

Other top allergies may arise in adulthood. The response is very individual, and we have no way to predict when an allergy may occur, Gardner says. Generally, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish are lifelong.

Whats The Link Between Food Allergies And Ra

Experts arenât sure. We do know that both are the result of an overactive immune system. With a food allergy, your immune system attacks certain foods. In RA, it attacks your joints and other healthy tissues.

One study done in animals found high levels of milk and egg antibodies in rodents with RA. In a small human study, people with RA had far more cross-reactive food antibodies in their gut than normal. Cross-reactive antibodies react to more than one allergen. This might lead to joint inflammation and other RA symptoms.

Leaky gut may play a role in both food allergies and RA. Leaky gut is when inflammation damages the lining of the intestine. This can cause food allergens to âleakâ into the bloodstream. Immune cells see the food allergens as a threat and go on the defense. This can lead to more inflammation that may harm joints.

Food allergies and RA seem to be much more common in people who have low levels of vitamin D. Symptoms may improve when vitamin D levels return to normal. For people with RA, the goal is a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood level of 35 to 45 ng/mL.

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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.

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How Is A Food Allergy Diagnosed

If your child might have a food allergy, the doctor will ask about:

  • your child’s symptoms
  • the time it takes between eating a particular food and the start of symptoms
  • whether any family members have allergies or conditions like eczema and asthma

The doctor might refer you to an , who will ask more questions and do a physical exam. The allergist probably will order tests to help make a diagnosis, such as:

  • a skin test. This test involves placing liquid extracts of food allergens on your child’s forearm or back, pricking the skin, and waiting to see if reddish raised spots form. A positive test to a food shows that your child might be sensitive to that food.
  • blood tests to check the blood for IgE antibodies to specific foods

Your child may need to stop taking some medicines 5 to 7 days before the skin test because they can affect the results. Check with the allergist’s office if you are unsure about what medicines need to be stopped and for how long.

If the test results are unclear, the allergist may do a food challenge:

  • During this test, a person slowly gets increasing amounts of the potential food allergen to eat while being watched for symptoms by the doctor. The test must be done in an allergist’s office or hospital with access to immediate medical care and medicines because a life-threatening reaction could happen.

Food challenge tests are also done to see if people have outgrown an allergy.

Does My Cat Have Food Intolerance

Most cats develop food allergies between the ages of 2 and 6, and must be constantly exposed to the offending allergen in order to develop symptoms. The symptoms of these conditions include vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, loss of appetite, itchy skin, hair loss, and redness of the skin.

How To Diagnose And Manage Food Intolerance In Cats

It can be difficult to diagnose food intolerance in cats, which is an important health concern for cats. A food trial is the most reliable method of determining whether your cat is allergic or intolerant to any food. You may also find that finding food that is simple for your cat to digest will help reduce symptoms.

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How Can I Prevent Food Allergies

There is no known way to prevent food allergies in adults. In babies, breastfeeding in the first six months of life may prevent milk allergy. Early introduction of highly allergenic foods such as peanut protein and eggs into the diet may also have a preventative effect. Please discuss with your healthcare provider.

Tests For Food Allergies

Food Allergy, Food Intolerance, or Something Else?

If you think that you or your child may have a food allergy, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Taking note of food allergy symptoms and when they occur can help in the diagnostic process.

In some cases, allergy tests may be done in your healthcare provider’s office. Or, your provider may refer you to an allergist .

After discussing your medical history, the provider will likely proceed with either a skin test or a blood test. When done correctly, both tests can help your provider diagnose whether or not you are allergic to any of the nine major allergens.

Neither a skin or blood test can predict how severely you will react to a food when you eat it. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a person to test “allergic” to a food, then have no symptoms when they eat that food. Both skin and blood tests are more helpful for ruling out foods that you are not allergic to.

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