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An Overview Of Food Allergy

Sep 3, 2008
Isn't it annoying when you smell the delicious aroma of a meal only to find out that it has an ingredient to which you are allergic? Ah! The demise of every person with food allergies! It is no fun to watch other people devour food that seems so delicious but you can't take part of the experience. How many times have you encountered comments like, great food isn't? And sometimes you just can't bear to admit you are allergic and just smile as if you knew how it tasted.

Then you try to ask questions, what is food allergy? What are causing these annoying symptoms? What's happens inside the body during allergic reactions? Ah! Understanding one's own health condition will better help them accept and overcome whatever's bothering them.

To start with, food allergy is unusual reaction to certain type of food allergen. An allergen is the substance or thing that causes the allergic reactions. Exposure to the allergen sets off the alarm in the human immune system which consequently releases antibodies to fight off the invasion of the perceived foreign body that is the food allergen. It then causes the symptoms you would see when you are in a state of allergic reaction.

The aforementioned is just an overview of the whole picture. Looking more closely, allergic reactions undergo two courses of action. The initial course is the release of immunoglobulin E or IgE by the immune system into the blood stream. IgE is a food-specific antibody and a protein that is the body's immune defense against the food allergen.

Following the initial response is the attachment of the IgE to the mast cells. These mast cells are present in body tissues specially locations of the body where allergic reactions are common. These locations may include the lungs, skin, nasal and oral cavities, and the gastrointestinal system.

As for the food itself, you may have noticed that you are not just allergic to one type of food. There are instances that you experience an allergic reaction to oyster and then later you found out that you are also allergic to crabs and other seafoods. This occurrence is what medical professionals call cross-reactivity, wherein an individual can be allergic to closely related or similar types of foods.

The only way to deal with this unfortunate mishap is to try as best as you can to avoid the foods that set off allergic reactions in your body. There is no cure to food allergy but there are medications out there that can alleviate its symptoms. With the help of a medical health professional, you can be assisted in the ways you can avoid exposures to food allergens. Nutritionists may teach you alternative ingredients or foods to replace the food that will be eliminated from your diet. Also, make it a habit to check food labels for possible ingredients that you may be allergic with and do not hesitate to warn the restaurant employees, like the waiter, about your food allergy to prevent any unwanted accidents.

Individuals who are highly allergic are advised to put on medical alert necklaces or bracelets which declare your condition. As for the medications, some patients who are very vulnerable are also advised to bring with them at all times a self-injectible epinephrine, which is prescribed by the doctor, that can be of great help during sudden attacks of allergic reactions before seeking out for the assistance of an emergency team.

Other medications are antihistamines, bronchodilators, and corticosteroids. Antihistamines help improve symptoms of rhinitis, hives, rashes, and gastrointestinal problems. Corticosteroids alleviate the severity of inflammations of the skin and in other areas of the body. While bronchodilators are utilized to open up air passages of the respiratory tract that has become inflamed which would have resulted to breathing difficulties.

To understand more about your food allergies, you can consult your physician. There are also comprehensive books in the market that can be easily understood by just about anybody that has complete information about food allergies and how to fight it.
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