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Food allergies: what they are, how they occur and how to protect yourself

Allergenic foods

Food allergies are linked to specific foods that attack the immune system and can cause mild or severe reactions: what they are and how they occur.

Food allergies affect a large part of the Italian and world population and must be clearly distinguished from food intolerances. Allergies in fact lead to more or less serious reactions that even lead to respiratory crises or even the danger of anaphylactic shock. In the most serious situations, immediate medical attention is required.

Let’s take a closer look at what food allergy is, the symptoms, which foods are most easily associated with these disorders and how to treat it.

What are the most frequent food allergies

Allergenic foods
Allergenic foods

There are many foods that, in some sensitive individuals, create a more or less important allergic reaction. Among these, the most common and widespread that lead to a food allergic reaction are certainly:

The eggs . Composed of many potentially allergenic proteins
– Milk and its derivatives. The most famous component that can create allergic reactions is lactose.
– Dried fruit (but especially nuts and peanuts).
– Molluscs and crustaceans.
Pisces .
– Gluten.
– Soy. Another highly allergenic food such as lactose.
– Nickel (which can be found in some foods such as tomatoes, chocolate, margarine, etc.)
Fruits and vegetables .

The causes of food allergy

Food allergy is a reaction of the immune system after taking a certain food which, for most people, is harmless and risk-free . The body is therefore sensitive to a certain type of food or composition of these, the body recognizes them as strangers and enemies and to fight them, releases antibody against the allergen

Not all people are allergic to something, many are but also in this case the degree of allergy varies from individual to individual: it presents with mild or even very serious reactions for which you must contact your doctor as soon as possible or go in the hospital.

Food allergies: symptoms

Abdominal pain
Abdominal pain

The food allergy reaction or symptoms vary, as mentioned earlier, from person to person. There are cases in which the allergy is delayed.

A first allergy reaction may be swelling of the tongue which causes difficulty in breathing. The swelling can also affect the lips, face, or other parts of the body or lead to hives, itching, or eczema.

In severe cases, anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis occurs which can lead to airway obstruction . For this reason prompt intervention by a doctor with adrenaline is necessary.

Abdominal pain, diarrhea , vomiting , dizziness, disorientation and nausea are also very common .

Diagnosis and treatment of food allergies

If you experience most or even any of the symptoms mentioned above after ingesting certain foods, it is right to take action and contact your doctor. To be sure you have an allergy, it is advisable to have food allergy tests. Your doctor will prescribe them after checking your health conditions with you and you can have them performed in the hospital .

The most frequent tests to detect this disorder are:

Prick test. This test consists of the subcutaneous injection of a series of selected allergens. After about 20 minutes the reaction is checked. If the injection site has turned red and is hot, the person is allergic.
Rast test. A blood test that measures the immune system’s responses to certain ones.
– Diet to eliminate some foods of which the subject may be allergic and then reintroduce them gradually to evaluate the reactions.

Once allergies have been defined, we move on to treatment: prevention is certainly the first effective weapon. Allergy sufferers will have to eliminate the “offending” foods from their diet and replace them with the help of the doctor in order not to risk food shortages. For mild allergic reactions you can then take drugs such as antihistamines.

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