5 Ways to Diagnose a Food Allergy

5 Ways to Diagnose a Food Allergy

About Food Allergy

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance called allergen in the environment, which is usually harmless. These allergens may include food, pollen, dust mite, and animal dander. The most common type of allergic reactions includes allergic conjunctivitis, which is one of the most commonly reported allergic diseases that are caused by pollen or mold spores.

Another common allergy is a food allergy or food hypersensitivity. A food allergy occurs only when the immune system is involved in causing the reaction. The food you are allergic to can be called as a food allergen, which is the part of food that stimulates the immune system of food allergic individuals. A food item carries multiple food allergens; most of them are likely to be proteins instead of fats and carbohydrates. An individual with food allergy produces a high amount of IgE (an antibody in the immune system). When such people eat a certain food, their body’s immune system is stimulated by the food allergens in order to make IgE specific to that food. When IgE on the surface of basophils and mast cells come in contact with food allergens, these specialized cells of the immune system that are responsible for causing allergic reaction stimulates the release of prostaglandins, histamine, and leukotrienes. These mediators are the powerful compound that causes allergic reactions.

Symptoms of Food Allergy

Most allergic reactions are caused by a limited number of foods such as eggs, shellfish, milk, peanuts, soy, fish, walnuts, and wheat.

Food allergy symptoms and signs involve the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and skin. These allergic symptoms occur alone or in combination with more than one symptom occurring at one time.

A food allergy begins within minutes to a few hours after eating the allergic food item. While in sensitive people, simply touching or inhaling the food can give rise to an allergic reaction.

Common food allergy symptoms and signs involve swelling or itching of the lips or swelling in the mouth or throat. Entry of food allergen in the stomach can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and cramping. One may also experience eczema, itching, hives, and redness of the skin. Shortness of breath, a runny nose, and sneezing are other symptoms of a food allergy.

Diagnosis of Food Allergy

If you are diagnosed with a food allergy, your health care specialist will suggest an allergy clinic or center for testing. These tests are required depending on the type of allergy. If you have IgE mediated food allergy, you will probably be given a skin prick test or a blood test to determine food allergies. While in case of non-IgE mediated food allergy, a food elimination diet is preferred.

Skin prick test – During this test, drops of certain food extracts are placed on the arm of an allergic food individual. Your health care specialist will then pierce with a small lancet, to allow the food allergen to come in contact with the cells of the immune system. Redness, swelling, and itching are the indicators of positive reaction. This is a painless procedure.

Blood test – A blood test is performed to measure some allergic antibodies in the bloodstream. It is an alternative to a skin-prick test.

Food elimination diet – In this, the suspicious food items are withdrawn from the diet for two to six weeks. After this period, the food items are then reintroduced. If the allergic reactions disappear when the food is eliminated but appears back again once the food is reintroduced, this indicates a food allergy.

Alternative tests – There are some more tests available that promises to detect different types of allergies, but should be avoided:

Kinesiology testing- It is a clinical test to detect food allergies and perform by studying your muscle response.

Alternative blood tests or Leukocyrotoxic tests) – During this test, a checking is done for the swelling of white blood cells to detect food allergies.These alternative tests are unproven and independent reviews have found them to be unreliable, therefore they should be avoided.

Rotation diet – In this diet, each food eaten on a particular day is not eaten until the fourth day. It helps you to control food allergies in allergy-prone individuals. The rotation of foods helps prevent struggle with repetitive food stressors. Keep rotating your food items to maintain your tolerance to the foods you eat.

Allergic Asthma Triggers You Must Look Out For

Allergic Asthma Triggers You Must Look Out For

Symptoms of asthma

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing

There are different types of allergens which can trigger asthma and symptoms can become more severe.

There are patients who are allergic to many people which can trigger asthma. The common allergens such as house dust mites, animal dander, molds, pollen and cockroach droppings. Your physician can identify the substances from which you are allergic and can recommend the ways to avoid these substances.

Tobacco smoke is an irritant that often aggravates asthma and symptoms can become very severe. Asthma can also be irritated by air pollution, strong odors or fumes.

There are some asthma medications whose side effects worsen the symptoms of asthma. The medicines which can worsen the asthma symptoms are aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, and beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches or glaucoma.
Psychophysiological factors such as emotional anxiety and stress may also increase asthma symptoms and trigger an attack.

Exposure to cold, dry air or weather changes can also trigger asthma.

There are many food products and food additives which can trigger asthma. Food allergies can cause mild to severe life-threatening conditions and they can rarely cause isolated asthma without other symptoms. The patient with food allergies may exhibit asthma as part of food-induced anaphylaxis. The most common foods associated with allergic symptoms are-

  • Eggs
  • Cow’s milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shrimp and other shellfish
  • Salads
  • Fresh fruits

Food preservatives can trigger isolated asthma. Sulphite additives such as sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, etc. are commonly used in food processing or preparation may trigger asthma in those people who are sensitive.

There are many things which you can do to avoid getting affected by the allergies and preventing asthma attacks.

The asthma medications can work quickly to stop coughing and wheezing. Learn more about asthma cure and the various asthma treatment methods for managing the condition.

Prevention

Get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia.

Identify the allergens which trigger asthma and stay away from them. Consult your doctor and your physician can help you to identify the allergens and can suggest you the ways to stay away from them.

Monitor your breathing- if you can learn to recognize the warning signs such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath and then try to maintain your breaths it can help you in preventing the worsening of the situation.

Take proper asthma care by taking medications on time- take your medicines as prescribed by the doctors and don’t miss your asthma medicine or overdose the medicines as it can worsen the situation. If you ever miss the dosage consult your doctor and follow the instruction.

Don’t overdo any exercise, avoid going outside during cold weather or if pollution is very high.

Do exercise regularly.