Food Allergies: What It Does and Why It Happens

There are some allergies that are triggered by microscopic protein particles that are inhaled or made contact with the skin. However, food allergies often occur when ingested. These reactions are common and dangerous, most of the time. Not to worry though because there are medicine for people who suffer from certain food allergies, like how diabetics use medicine for diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels in check.

One important thing to remember is food allergies are more common in infants and children but they can happen at any age. Even though you have been eating that food for years, there is a possibility you will develop an allergy to it.

Why do people develop allergies anyway?

The immune system is responsible for fending off infections and other dangers to our health. A food allergy reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a food or substance in the food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response. While allergies tend to run in families, it is hard to predict whether a child will inherit a parent’s food allergy or whether siblings will have the same condition. However, there are some studies that suggest when a child has an allergy, for example in peanuts, then there is a high possibility that his younger siblings will be allergic to peanuts as well.

Any food can cause allergy reactions. However, the following are the most common:

  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Milk
  • Tree Nuts (cashews or walnuts)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe. An initial reaction may cause a few problems only but that doesn’t mean that all reactions will be similar. A food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion can cause more severe symptoms at another time. The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction that affects the whole body. It can impair a person’s breathing, cause a dramatic drop in the blood pressure and affect the heart rate. Anaphylaxis often occurs within minutes of exposure and can be fatal. It must immediately treated with an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot.

allergic reaction tgp

The common symptoms of an allergic reaction may affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and the respiratory tract. They can appear in one or more of the following ways:

  • Vomiting and/or stomach cramps
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Repetitive cough
  • Shock or circulatory collapse
  • Tight, hoarse throat; trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the tongue, affecting the ability to talk or breathe
  • Weak pulse
  • Pale or blue coloring of skin
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Anaphylaxis

Most of these symptoms occur within two hours of ingestion. In some cases, the reaction may be delayed by several hours or even longer. Children often display delayed reactions; sometimes developing eczema during the reaction.

The best way to manage food allergy is to avoid eating the food that causes you problems. Check the ingredient labels of food products and see whether what you need to avoid is known by other names.