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Food allergies can be life-threatening

1306386162 35 Food allergies can be life threateningBy Fred Cicetti Published: 2:00 AM – 05/04/11

Q. What are the most common food allergies?

A. Foods that produce most allergic reactions in adults include fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, peanuts, eggs and tree nuts such as walnuts and pecans. Common children’s allergic reactions are caused by eggs, milk, wheat and peanuts.

A true food allergy is an abnormal response by your immune system to certain foods. Not all reactions to foods are allergies. when you have a reaction that doesn’t involve the immune system, this reaction is called food intolerance. for example, if you don’t have enough of the enzyme lactase, it is difficult for you to digest lactose, the main sugar in milk products.

If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to eat a little bit of problem foods safely. however, if you have a true food allergy, even a tiny amount of food may set off an allergic reaction.

Food allergy symptoms can strike within minutes of digestion. some allergy reactions are troublesome but not threatening. however, some allergies can be lethal.

Common symptoms for food allergies include a tingling in the oral cavity, itching, hives, eczema, facial and oral swelling, difficulty breathing, wheezing, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fainting.

If you have a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis, the dangerous symptoms are narrowing of your breathing airways, shock, dramatic drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse and becoming unconscious. Any of these symptoms requires immediate medical attention.

If you have anaphylaxis, you may need an adrenaline injection. If you have a severe allergy, your doctor may prescribe an injectable that you can carry around.

Exercise can also trigger an allergic reaction to a food. in severe cases, it can cause anaphylaxis. This allergy can be prevented by avoiding food for two hours before exercise.

There is an oral allergy syndrome caused by some fresh fruits and vegetables; the reaction is usually mild.

If allergies such as hay fever are common in your family background, you are more likely to have food allergies. A child who has one parent with an allergy has about a 50 percent chance of developing an allergy. If both parents suffer from allergies, the child has about a 70 percent chance of developing an allergy.

For mild allergies, you can take antihistamines to control your reaction and help relieve discomfort.

If you have a food allergy:

– Watch everything you eat and drink carefully to ensure that the foods that trouble you are not hidden somewhere in your meals. This is especially important in restaurants. — If you have a severe allergy, you should wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace with information about your condition to help emergency medical technicians if you can’t speak. also, talk to your doctor about carrying injectable adrenaline.– If you have asthma, be on guard against sulfites. in restaurants, ask if sulfites have been added to foods. in the supermarket, check labels for the terms sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium sulfite, sulfur dioxide and potassium metabisulfite.

fred@healthygeezer.com

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