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Food Allergies and Intolerance Information

Updated/Revised Date: 2022-04-12
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Food Allergies Publications

Synopsis: Introduction to food allergies in children and adults, including intolerances to specific food types. A food allergy is an adverse immune response to certain kinds of food. Food allergies are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions. Food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest, or breakdown, the food.

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Main Document

The Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance

Food Allergy

A food allergy is an adverse immune response to certain kinds of food. Food allergies are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions. The protein in the food is the most common allergic component. These kinds of allergies occur when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. Other common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds), fish, and shellfish, milk, eggs, soy products, and wheat.

Symptoms of Food Allergy Can Include:

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest, or breakdown, the food. Intolerance to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products, is the most common food intolerance.

Food allergies cause roughly 30,000 emergency room visits and 100 to 200 deaths per year in the United States. The most common food allergies in adults are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and eggs, and the most common food allergies in children are milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Milk and soy allergies in children can often go undiagnosed for many months, causing much worry for parents and health risks for infants and children. Many infants with milk and soy allergies can show signs of colic, blood in the stool, mucous in the stool, reflux, rashes, and other harmful medical conditions.

Food allergies and food intolerances affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. People who have food allergies must identify and prevent them because, although usually mild and not severe, these reactions can cause devastating illness and, in rare instances, can be fatal.

Food allergy is thought to develop more easily in patients with the atopic syndrome, a very common combination of diseases: allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, eczema and asthma. Treatment consists of either immunotherapy (desensitization) or avoidance, in which the allergic person avoids all forms of contact with the food to which they are allergic. People diagnosed with a food allergy may carry an autoinjector of epinephrine such as an EpiPen or Twinject, wear some form of medical alert jewelry, or develop an emergency action plan, in accordance with their doctor.

The best method for diagnosing food allergy is to be assessed by an allergist. The allergist will review the patient's history and the symptoms or reactions that have been noted after food ingestion. If the allergist feels the symptoms or reactions are consistent with food allergy, he/she will perform allergy tests.

In response to the risk that certain foods pose to those with food allergies, countries have responded by instituting labeling laws that require food products to clearly inform consumers if their products contain major allergens or by-products of major allergens.

Image of shelled peanuts.
Image of shelled peanuts.

Food Proteins Can Trigger Food Allergies:

A person with an allergic system produces an allergy antibody (IGE) in response to some food proteins. The allergy antibody which acts as a fuse, that can ignites an allergy bomb-allergy cells which in turn, releases histamine and other natural chemicals that cause allergic symptoms.

Histamine can be released anywhere in the allergy-prone person's body. A food allergy reaction may occur within seconds of ingestion, within four hours later. Should a food allergy causes histamine to be released in the lungs, bronchial spasms, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing can occur. Histamine to food allergies released in the skin causes itching or hives and eczema. Histamine that released in the stomach causes nausea. When food allergies cause a histamine release throughout the body, an anaphylactic shock may occur.

Although food may allergies afflict less than one percent of our population, reactions from a food allergy are some of the most severe. Food allergy reactions range from a tingling sensation in the mouth and lips to an anaphylactic shock. An Anaphylactic shock may begin, with classic food allergy symptoms - tingling mouth and lips, but within seconds the mouth and throat swell and constrict air passages. If air passages are severely constricted, choking and death by suffocation may occur. An Anaphylactic shock may also cause seizures, resulting in heart failure and circulatory collapse. Food allergies can lead to asthma, especially in children, causing permanent lung damage. Fortunately, information about food allergies and allergy control products can help people with food allergies live normal lives.

Ingredients Can Hide Food Allergy:

Thanks to guidelines in industries, food labels have been improved significantly. Although, it still can be difficult to identify some ingredients that cause food reactions. Take, for an example, a wheat gluten protein used for thickening, which is used in a number of processed food products.

White vinegar, wheat gluten soups, pasta, white flour, bread, ice cream, cookies, alcoholic beverages and crackers. High-protein flour, custard, sour cream, lunch meat, brown sugar, chocolate, yogurt, cheese, artificial butter flavor, margarine, butter and milk casein. Eggs, salad dressings, sandwich spreads, ice cream, bread, and mayonnaise. Maple syrup, dextrose, flavorings, grits, corn meal, corn syrup, vitamin C, plastic wrap, paper plates, paper cups, adhesive, and envelopes. Sulfites - used on raw and processed foods, which prevent spoilage and discoloration.

Can and frozen vegetables, vegetable juices, gravies, stuffing, rice mixes, fish and shellfish, relish, trail mix and dried foods, frosting, gelatine, coconut, jam and jelly, wine vinegar, fruit juices, pizza crust, pickles and olives, alcoholic beverages, bakery items, horseradish, pickles and pickled vegetables, relish, sugar, tortillas, potato chips and hard candy.

Common Food allergies Include:

Peanut allergy, Egg allergies, Wheat and grain allergy, Milk allergies, Brewer Yeast, Corn, Nuts, Pork, Strawberries, Shellfish and Fish, Tomato, Beans, Chocolate, Pickle, Cheese, Wine and beer, Avocado, Baking yeast, Coffee, Oils from peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, corn, Sulfites and other food preservatives, MSG (Monosodium glutamate) and other food seasonings.

Get tested by your doctor, who should diagnose and inform you what food you should avoid consuming. Your blood count and also several other blood tests, including the IGE allergy antibody, pulmonary function study, chest and sinus X-rays, nasal smear also a detailed symptomatic medical history and a food diary review is vital to pinpoint the cause.

Puncture as in pin prick test which is (A small extract of a suspected allergen is injected beneath the skin of the upper arm, called Intradermal Testing.) carried out on the upper back and arms to find exactly which food allergy affected you.

Patch tests may also be used as well based on the Intradermal Testing results. Medical testing can also determine other allergens that are causing allergic reactions. For severe food allergies, your doctor may prescribe an adrenaline injection. An EpiPen auto-injector should always be carried at all times by anyone with severe food allergy. You should also keep a food diary of your eating habits and food allergy symptoms.

Try to distinguish between true food allergies and food intolerance (intolerance and food poisoning can also have similar symptoms). Read food labels carefully. Once specific food allergies have been identified, reading food labels can reduce exposure. Though, many processed food have hidden ingredients that also trigger a food allergy flare up.

Food Allergy Facts and Statistics

Eczema:

Many ingredients don't contain any microbiology testing or neither do they have any anti-microbial properties, take the ones in the Shea butter, Bee's wax or even Neem formulations. It means that the product does not especially kill off any bacteria around eczema. There are findings that many forms of eczema would disappear by itself if the bacterium was destroyed. This would mean that the itch would be relived and, in turn, further bacteria would not be applied by scratching of the skin causing further damage. Some ingredients can even cause dry skin, which in turn can cause or prolong the eczema.

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Subtopics and Associated Subjects


Latest Food Allergies Publications

New peanut allergy guidelines are an addendum to the 2010 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States.
Publish Date: 2017-01-08

How much peanut protein can be found on everyday surfaces? Researchers present air and surface quantifications at aaaai annual meeting.
Publish Date: 2016-03-06 - Updated: 2016-03-23

Questions and Answers regarding the Lesley University Agreement and potential implications for people with food allergies.
Publish Date: 2015-12-29 - Updated: 2020-11-25
Food Allergy Link to Arthritis Types thumbnail image.
Article examines possible link between food allergies and arthritis conditions including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Publish Date: 2015-03-24 - Updated: 2021-08-24

Additional Food Allergies Publications

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Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, April 12). Food Allergies and Intolerance Information. Disabled World. Retrieved February 8, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/health/intolerance-allergies/

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