Food allergy means that your body mistakes a normal food component as an offensive one.
Why food allergy occurs
When we consume a food item and our body misinterprets it as an allergen (allergy causing agent), it starts producing IgE antibodies. These antibodies fight against that so called allergen and produce allergy symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of food allergy
It has following signs and symptoms:
- Wheal formation on the body that itch.
- Irritation in throat and mouth
- Abdominal cramps
- Diarrhea (in extreme cases only)
- Cold skin
- Throat swelling leading to breathing difficulty
Diagnostic test for food allergy
It is diagnosed by measuring the levels of IgE in blood in response to the tested food.
What are the risk factors associated with food allergy?
There are certain factors:
It mostly is seen in infants and toddlers
- Family history:
Those having family members who have food allergy or other allergies are more likely to suffer.
- History of other allergies:
If you are allergic to some other substances there are chances you can have food allergy as well
Being asthmatic is another risk that you could have food allergies as well.
To what food items is it more likely to have allergy?
Food allergy mostly occurs to the following edibles:
How to treat food allergy?
It depends on the severity of the reaction
- Mild to moderate allergy: it is treated by antihistamines
- Severe allergic reaction: it requires the administration of adrenaline
Remember! Prevention is better than cure
A lot of studies are recently being conducted to prevent food allergy. Guidelines from leading allergy organizations and many others serve as a light house. According to those guidelines, following measures could be taken
- Start introducing semisolid foods at an age of around 4 months. This will help your baby's immune system to adopt better to new edibles.
- Do not introduce multiple foods at a time. Instead of this, try only one food for days and observe your baby's response to that. It will help you identify the allergen as well as the extent of allergy.
- Always start a new food or allergen with a minimum dose and then gradually increase the dose. This, on one hand, decreases the likelihood of developing allergy and increases the efficacy on the other hand.
- Another proven preventive measure is to feed the allergen to your toddler for 2 to 7 days a week. Continue this for a minimum of 3 to 6 months. This method was very effectively used to prevent peanut allergy in the LEAP study trial.
- When weaning is started at the age of around 5 to 6 months, there are chances that your baby will accept certain foods and will reject the others. This requires a lot of patience. Try and try again is the major solution here. Do not give up; introduce allergens steadily. This is the best time to educate your baby's immune system.