Food allergies happen when your immune system reacts immediately after you eat a certain food. It is a common condition; around six to eight percent of children under the age of three and four percent of adults are said to have food allergies. For these people, even the tiniest amount of the food that they are allergic to will already cause signs and symptoms that can even lead to life-threatening reactions.

Food Allergy Symptoms

For patients with mild cases of food allergy, a reaction is usually just uncomfortable but for some, it can have frightening consequences. Symptoms appear quickly after eating the food in question. Common symptoms include:

– Tingling sensation in the mouth
– Swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat or other body parts
– Hives or itching
– Nasal congestion
– Wheezing
– Abdominal pain
– Nausea or vomiting
– Diarrhea
– Lightheadedness

A severe reaction to food allergy is called anaphylaxis, where it can produce life-threatening symptoms such as:

– Constriction of the airways
– Swelling of the throat that will make breathing difficult
– Shock
– Severe drop in blood pressure
– Loss of consciousness
– Rapid pulse rate

Food allergies can also be induced by food triggered by exercise. A person will feel itchiness and lightheadedness when his body is stimulated by exercise, which triggers the food allergy. People with hay fever can also have an allergic reaction to certain fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as certain nuts and spices.

Causes of Food Allergy

These foods contain certain proteins that usually trigger majority of food allergy reactions.

– Peanuts
– Shellfish
– Fish
– Eggs
– Tree nuts

Risk Factors

If you are more likely to develop food allergies if you have a family history of asthma, eczema, hives and hay fever. If you are already allergic to one food, you are at risk of becoming allergic to another. Children are more likely to develop food allergies, and a lot of them outgrow the condition.

Treatment of Food Allergies

The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to stay away from foods that can cause the reaction. But most of the time, people still come in contact with the offending food despite their best efforts. For minor reactions, over-the-counter or prescribed medications such as antihistamine can reduce symptoms. For severe reactions, a trip to the emergency room is usually necessary. An emergency injection of epinephrine should always come in handy, which will inject a single dose of medication. Oftentimes, these injections became lifesavers for the patients concerned.

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