Overview of Food Allergies
When a person eats a food, and their body looks at some of the ingredients as though they are a germ or invader, the person will then be diagnosed with a food allergy. When this happens, the body works to defend itself against what it believes to be a threat. There are certain foods that are more likely to cause an allergy, even though any food can cause an allergy in the person. For children, food allergies are more common, and these foods include:
- Tree nuts
In most cases, the allergic reaction is going to occur within 30 minutes of eating the food. In some cases, this can occur as soon as five to ten minutes after eating, or as long as 4 to 6 hours after eating.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
Having a food allergy is hard to diagnose, just because there are so many symptoms that a person could have. These symptoms include:
- Throat is scratchy
- Stomach ache
- Vomiting or nausea
- Swelling in the mouth or face
- Nasal issues
- Other skin rashes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Blood in stool or poor growth in babies could signal a food allergy
In severe cases, a person can suffer from anaphylaxis, which can lead to death if not treated.
Preventing Food Allergies
For those who want to prevent food allergies, here are some tips that can help with this:
- Do not introduce solid food to children until the age of 6 months
- Breastfeed children for at least the first 6 months of their life
- Introduce new foods slowly and one at a time
- Do not give a child cow’s milk until they are at the age of 1
For babies with a family history of food allergies, be sure that you breastfeed or discuss formula options with a doctor. You will also want to avoid introducing those common allergy foods until they are much older and you have doctor approval.
For older children and adults who have food allergies, the best way to prevent these allergies is through:
- Education yourself about allergies and knowing the symptoms to look for
- Ensure you avoid specific foods that cause this issue
- Learn CPR
- For older children, ensure that people are aware of this allergy
What is Food Intolerance?
This is different to a food allergy. Individuals with food intolerance might have signs such as diarrhoea, swelling and abdominal pains. This might be as a result from problems digesting certain foods, like lactose. Though, no allergic response occurs.
- The signs of food intolerance generally happen some hours after consuming the food
- You have to consume a larger volume of food to cause an intolerance compared to an allergy
- An allergy can be dangerous, where food intolerance is not.