Food allergy is when the body’s immune system responds abnormally to a particular food. Though allergic symptoms are minor, some can be quite dangerous
Symptoms of food allergies
A food allergy often happens within a few seconds or minutes after consumption.
Several signs include:
- Tongue tingling or itchiness
- The skin turns red and itching, but not in the form of a raised rash (hives)
- Swelling of the neck, face, mouth, or other body parts (angioedema)
- Having trouble swallowing
- Wheeze or breathlessness
- Feeling lightheaded and dizzy.
- Experiencing nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or an ache in the abdomen
- Symptoms of hay fever, like sneezing or itching eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction resulting from food allergies in some persons.
Life-threatening symptoms and signs that can result from this include:
- Tightness and constriction of the airways
- Challenging in breathing due to a swollen throat or the sense of a lump in your throat
- A sharp drop in blood pressure
- Fast heartbeat
- Unsteadiness, faintness, or unconsciousness
What leads to food allergies?
Food allergies arise when the immune system, the body’s line of protection against infection, misinterprets food proteins as dangerous.
Several substances are consequently released. These substances are what result in allergic response symptoms.
The following foods tend to trigger allergic reactions:
- Milk, eggs, and nuts
- Fish, shellfish,
- Certain fruits and vegetables
Categories of food allergy
Depending on the signs and timing of the allergy, there are three categories:
- IgE-mediated food allergy is brought on by the immune system’s production of an immunoglobulin antibody.
- Non-IgE-mediated food allergy: Immune cells other than immunoglobulin E are responsible for these allergic responses.
- Food allergies that are both IgE- and non-IgE-mediated can present symptoms in some persons.
Treating food allergy
The most acceptable way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it.
Avoid altering your diet drastically, such as by eliminating dairy products, without first consulting your doctor. Before modifying certain foods, you might need to consult a dietician.
Antihistamines can aid in the relief of mild to moderate allergic response symptoms.
Anaphylaxis and other more severe allergy symptoms can be effectively treated with adrenaline.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022