Food allergies are one of the most common kinds of allergies. Food allergies affect round 5% in adults and 8% in children. Surprisingly these numbers are rising.
On my recent trip to my most beloved city of all times, I found that I had severe food sickness which I could not have found otherwise. Ong and behold, my tongue swelled to the size of a tomato and before feeling that i was on the verge of dying one the allergy specialist in Karachi told me it was just an allergic reaction to prawns.
Curious about how allergies work, I got straight into how common food allergies happen. What are their symptoms and what risk factors are associated with food allergies.
What is a food allergy?
Food allergy is a form of allergy that riggers intense abnormal immune response. Mostly allergic reactions are mild and are not life threatening, however in some cases they can be deadly.
The triggering of your immune system is due to some foreign proteins that are found in food and are considered as harmful by your immune system. This results in a fit throw of protective measure by your immune system such as histamines which are the biggest reason why all of a sudden you have puffy eyes and lips all of a sudden.
Some of the common symptoms that occur due to food allergies are;
- Swelling of tongue and lips
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Rashes, blisters or hives
- Itchy patches all over the skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low blood pressure
Please be aware there is a difference between food allergy and food intolerance. Food intolrances does NOT involve the immune system. They may adversely impact your lifestyle habits and choices but they are never life threatening.
If you are unaware of whether it’s an allergy attack you are experiencing or food intolerance, make sure to rush to a general physician right away!
Coming back to the sar of the show, here are eight most common food allergies that you should be careful of if you have never experienced any allergies before in your life.
1. Cow’s Milk or Full Fat milk
This is one of the most common misunderstood allergies as most people also have lactose intolerance problems. This allergy onset in the earliest of childhood, and in most cases, children outgrown milk allergy by the time they are here. As it’s often experienced in babies, the common symptoms will look something like vomiting, hives and swelling of baby’s lips.
Milk allergy can be quite hard to diagnose as there is no particular test for it and a running blood test might also not reveal the true nature of it.
An egg allergy is the second most common type of allergy especially in children again like milk allergy, most children will outgrow this allergy by the time they are 16. The symptoms may seem harsher as compared to the milk allergies. These symptoms include
- Digestive distress
- Stomach ache
- Respiratory problems
- Severe gas issues
- Rarely anaphylaxis
An egg white allergy is also quite common. Many people omit yolks out of their egg meals, yet still experience an allergy reaction, again this might be due to the whites present in the egg not the yolk itself.
3. Tree Nuts
Again a very common allergy in people, a tree nut allergy is due to nuts and seeds that come from certain trees. For example Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts will trigger an allergic reaction if you have any kind of tree nut allergy. Any product that is processed from these tree nuts such as nut butters and different oils coming from the tree fruit. The best way to avoid this allergy is too avid the nuts even the processed ones. Allergies arising from tree nuts can be severe. People who go through severe nut allergies have to keep an epi-pen with them. An epi-pen has a shot of adrenaline in it which can help in severe allergic reactions.
4. Sea Food
Now you might not be allergic to everything in so, but certain sea foods can bring out the worst of food allergies. I mean I stayed two nights at Indus Hospital Karachi just for eating prawns!
If you haven’t ever tried seafood. Here are some of the examples to be aware;
Interestingly even the vapors coming out of a fish meal can trigger severe allergic reactions in someone who is extremely sensitive.
The Bottom Line
There are many things that can trigger allergic reactions however the above mentioned food are the only foods that trigger severe food allergies. Either way if you have a family member who is allergic to foods, or you might have had an allergy attack in your childhood, you need to pay a serious visit to your doctor.