Food allergies occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, as it would a germ, such as a bacteria or a virus. When your body attacks the food protein, your immune system produces large amounts of an antibody, known as immunoglobulin E, which is meant to fight what the body perceives as a threat; This antibody releases histamine and other chemicals into the body. It is these chemicals that then cause the symptoms that are common with allergic reactions.
Most Common Food Allergies
Symptoms of Food Allergies:
- Blood Pressure Drop
- Shortness of Breath or Wheezing
- Swelling of Lips, tongue, face, or throat
- Stomach Pain
- Tingling Mouth
It is vital to go to your doctor if you think you are experiencing a food allergy. In order to be diagnosed with a food allergen, your doctor will take your medical history, followed by a physical exam. After this, several different types of tests will be ordered to help with the diagnosis. Some of these tests include a blood test, skin prick test, an oral food challenge or a trial elimination diet.
The only way in which to completely prevent an allergic reaction is to completely avoid the food you believe you are allergic to. Mild to moderate symptoms can be treated with antihistamines or topical steroids. While with severe reactions epinephrine (also referred to as an Epipen) is prescribed.
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