Food Allergies Facts

Food Allergies Facts
A food allergy occurs when a person has an abnormal immune response to a particular food. When an individual with a food allergy consumes that food they may experience a variety of reactions such as itchiness, hives, vomiting and/or diarrhea, possible tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and in severe cases anaphylaxis, which can result in death. A food allergy occurs when immunoglobulin E binds to the molecules of a food. Inflammatory chemicals are released, such as histamine, and a reaction occurs. In the case of food allergies it is usually a protein in the food that causes the issue. Food allergies and food sensitivities are not the same as food sensitivities, which are less acute, less obvious and more chronic in nature, but they are often confused as being the same.
Interesting Food Allergies Facts:
Some of the most common foods that people have allergies to include fruit, rice, wheat, soy, cow's milk, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and fish.
Some issues can increase a person's risk for food allergies, such as a family history of allergic reactions to food, obesity, being deficient in vitamin D, or being too clean (constantly cleaning one's hands and environment with chemical cleaners).
The onset of symptoms to a food allergy can occur within minutes or several hours after exposure or ingesting the food.
In order to properly diagnose a food allergy a person must be exposed to specific medical tests. These tests can include an oral food challenge, skin prick test, a medical history and in some cases a medically supervised elimination diet.
It is estimated that in the United States and other countries in the developed world, between 4 and 8% of people have one or more food allergies. This equals approximately 12 million people.
It is more common for male children to experience food allergies than female children.
Food allergies are not always present in childhood and can develop later on in life.
Additional allergic reactions that can occur include runny nose, shortness of breath and/or wheezing, stomach cramps, fainting, lightheadedness, trouble swallowing because of swelling of the tongue and/or throat, and rashes.
If a food allergy affects the respiratory tract or a person's blood circulation a person can experience anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention.
People that are prone to experiencing anaphylactic shock from an allergy to food or other substance often carry an epi pen. This device contains adrenaline in a needle and when administered immediately can reverse the anaphylaxis by improving blood flow and increasing heart rate to improve circulation in the body.
In non-life threatening cases an individual may take antihistamines to treat some of the symptoms of a food allergy. Antihistamines are not able to treat all the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
The number of people with food allergies is increasing, and many believe that it is because of the fact that a lot of the food people eat is genetically modified.
The number of deaths in the United States each year from anaphylaxis is roughly 150.


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