Friday, September 4, 2009

Food Allergies Can be Fatal - Be Careful

Have you ever experienced an immediate skin reaction like severe rashes or chronic asthmatic attack as soon as you have a piece of pineapple or any other food item? Well, what you're suffering from is simply Food Allergy.


This condition can be observed in anybody irrespective to their age or sex. Basically food allergy is caused when our immune system, who is responsible to keep our body free from any kind of infections, fails to produce enough amounts of antibodies to destroy the harmful toxins/bacteria. And thus end up giving us the allergy reaction.

Remember food allergy is different from food poisoning or food intolerance (lactose intolerance/milk intolerance).As all of the symptoms of food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating a smallest bite/piece of allergens. A food allergy can initially be experienced as an itching in the mouth and difficulty in swallowing and breathing. Incidentally, the gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergy are very much similar to the symptoms of different types of food intolerance. But food intolerance symptoms are very mild and not immediate (and are mainly due to insufficiency of a particular enzyme or chemical required for digestion like in lactose intolerance) and life threatening while in case of allergy, it can be fatal if not treated quickly. Remember food allergy is not common but can be serious if ignored.

Management of Food Allergy

Now its not possible for a person who is allergic to particular food items to take medications every time he consumes his meal therefore one can opt for some precautions. Some of the precautionary measures one can take care of are:

1.The first and the most important step is as soon as one observes or suspects any kind of food allergy or intolerance, immediately visit your family GP to make a correct diagnosis and start a treatment.

2.In case of allergic children parents should not try to Panic otherwise even the child might get scared and may revolt/repulse to the given treatment.

3.Talk to your child’s school teachers and to the parents of playmates about the child’s allergies and its precautions like letting them know about the foods your child is allergic to and its medications or the first aid that can be given at the sudden allergy reactions.

4.Always keep an identity card in your child’s pocket with his name, address, list of food allergies from which your child suffers, guardian’s contact details, family physician’s contact details, so that in case of emergency it can be used.

5.Try and go for complete avoidance of allergy causing foods. But it's important that if foods are excluded from the diet suitable alternatives should be introduced to avoid any nutrient deficiencies. For this one can contact a dietitian /nutritionist who can offer practical advice (diet) about how to achieve this.

6.Person suffering from severe allergies should always read the food labels carefully before buying any kind of ready to eat food stuff from the market.

7.When in restaurants, keep it simple and avoid anything that is unknown. Or ask for a detailed composition (about the ingredients being used) of the dish if trying a new recipe.

8.Arm yourself with enough knowledge so that the food allergic person can be constantly vigilant about what they eat, and what they need to avoid.

9.Infact one can also go for food intolerance tests as a precaution and get know about its intolerances beforehand.

10.If one is unsure whether one has an allergy or hypersensitivity, withdraw the food for two weeks, than reintroduce it to see if one has a reaction.

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