Peanuts could lead you breathless, a bowl of pulses may cause swelling of the tongue and throat, or a fish preparation may lead to redness of skin and an incessant rash. The list is endless, and these are just a handful of the common allergies that people suffer from. While their occurrence may be common, what really makes the task difficult is that there is no cure for an allergy, and the only way out is by preventing the intake of food that causes allergy.
Simply defined, an allergy is intolerance of the immune system to specific foods. You are allergic to food when your body reacts adversely to it, thereby producing excess histamine, which triggers a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin or cardiovascular system.
Although an individual could be allergic to any food, such as fruits, vegetables and meat, it’s protein-rich food that more than 80 per cent of the people are allergic to.
You could either be allergic to specific food items, or preservatives. In case of food, allergies are generally caused by protein rich food stuffs like peanuts, fish, egg, soy, wheat and pulses.
While an allergy may develop at any age, there is no specific cure, which can be prescribed. Doctors prescribe anti-histamine drugs and may even have to inject steroids in severe cases, but these only subdue the effects after an allergy has occurred. There is no long-term cure or means to get rid of any allergy and the only way out is to prevent the intake of food that causes the allergy.
The symptoms vary from urticaria – red patches, indicating excess of blood supply to that region of the body, to general body rash and itching. In severe cases it may lead to breathlessness and angioneurotic oedema, where the wind pipe is blocked.
Patch test to find out the specific food that causes allergy exist. These are restrictive in nature and can only test allergy to 50 to 100 food stuffs. The method of exclusion serves best. Doctors recommend maintaining a diary. Once you know that you are allergic to something, start recording everything that you eat in a diary. It will be easier to detect the particular food whenever you develop symptoms next.
Once you determine what you are allergic to, it is important to learn to read food labels and thereby avoid eating food that you are allergic to. The dictum, prevention is better than cure, works best in case of allergy.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after a person has eaten the food to which he/she is allergic.
1.Tingling sensation in the mouth
2.Swelling of the tongue and throat
3.Difficulty in breathing
7.Drop in blood pressure
8.Loss of consciousness
Symptoms may be mild or very sever, depending on how much of the food you have consumed and extent that you are allergic to it.