Some of us are allergic to certain foods. Sometimes reactions to food allergies can be quite severe. Therefore, to avoid complicated allergic reactions, we must detect the foods we are allergic to and avoid having these foods.
Wheat, milk, egg and peanut are the common foods that produce allergic reactions to a large number of people. Other common allergy causing foods include – shellfish, fish, nuts, corn, brewer yeast, wine, beer, tomato, chocolate, bean, strawberry, cheese, pork, avocado, pickle, soybean, baking yeast, soybean oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, monosodium glutamate or MSG used for seasoning Chinese foods and food preservative, such as sulfites.
How allergic reactions occur
If you are allergic to certain food proteins, your body produces allergy antibody that triggers secretion of histamine and other chemicals that produce allergic symptoms. An allergic reaction occurs instantly or within four hours of food intake.
Symptoms of Food Allergy
Mild food allergy reactions produce irritation or itching of the mouth and the lips. When histamine is released in the skin, the symptoms of food allergy are itching, skin eruptions and eczema. In severe allergies, histamine is released in the lungs causing bronchial spasms and breathing difficulties. Nausea and vomiting occurs when histamine is released in the stomach. In the worst cases, histamine released all over the body produces anaphylactic shock, which might cause seizures, and heart failure.
Detecting food allergy
It is not always easy to pinpoint foods that cause specific allergic reactions. Food allergy tests include a series of medical tests, IgE allergy antibody test being the most important. You may also require to undergo pulmonary function study, nasal smear test and chest and sinus X-rays. Intradermal tests and dermatitis patch tests would be required along with puncture tests on the arms and upper back to detect the allergens. There are around 120 allergens that you might be required to test.