Adult Food Allergies – What you need to look out for
If you went through childhood without any food allergies you may think you’re off the hook once you’re an adult but you’d be wrong. Even if you didn’t have a food allergy as a child, you may develop a food allergy as an adult. While most food allergies do develop in childhood, it is possible for your body to suddenly react differently to certain foods. A study conducted earlier has found 15% of food allergies develop between the ages of 18-86.
Food allergies in adults appear to be on the rise. There is no clear reason as to why particular foods begin to trigger the immune system unnecessarily. It usually responds immediately after the intake of the offensive food but some may take a couple of hours to manifest. Most allergies manifest as itchy rashes or hives but some other serious allergies can have more severe symptoms.
Here is what you have to look out for:
Upon being exposed to a protein, your immune system wrongly considers harmful, histamines are released from cells in response to an antibody called immunoglobulin. The parts of your body where the histamine is released is where you’ll see/feel the symptoms. If the histamine is released in the skin, you may develop an itchy rash, hives, swelling, and flushing. However, if the histamine is released in the gastrointestinal tract, the symptoms are significantly worse. Histamine in the gastrointestinal tract can cause everything from nausea and abdominal pain to vomiting and diarrhea.
The symptoms of an allergy attack in the GI can be mistaken for flu or food poisoning but you should be able to tell it apart if it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as a scratchy throat or a swollen mouth. It is better to seek medical help if you feel that you may be experiencing an allergic reaction, even if it’s a mild reaction, you should consult with a doctor in case the symptoms do not go away.
It may seem unlikely but stuffy sinuses can be an allergic reaction to specific foods. The reason for this is that the histamine is released in your respiratory tract. In addition to stuffy sinuses and a runny nose, you may also get swollen tongue and a metallic taste in your mouth.
Tingling itchy sensation in your mouth and throat
The symptoms of this type of allergy remain within the mouth and throat. This is also the most common type of adult food allergy. The scratchy mouth and throat sensation happen when people who are allergic to pollen, eat fruits and vegetables that consist of similar protein.
Those that are allergic to birch pollen will most likely develop a reaction to a group of nuts and fruits such as apples, hazelnuts, almonds and pitted fruits. Others who are allergic to ragweed will probably have an allergic reaction to melons and bananas.
It should be noted that these foods can be consumed by those who have allergies after they are cooked. The heat from the cooking breaks down the protein so it should not trigger an allergic reaction.
An anaphylactic shock is the most severe type of allergic reaction to food. If not treated immediately it can even lead to death. During an anaphylactic shock, patients require an immediate shot of epinephrine (adrenaline). Epinephrine should reverse the symptoms in a matter of minutes. Patients who have gone into anaphylactic shock once are more likely to have it again.
Anaphylactic shock begins like any other food allergy symptoms such as a scratchy throat, runny nose or a skin rash but within 30minutes it becomes a combination of more severe symptoms which include shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue, vomiting, diarrhea and weak pulse. The swelling of the tongue makes it that much harder to breathe which is why an anaphylactic shock demands immediate attention.
Physicians advise those who have previously experienced anaphylactic shocks to carry at least 2 shots of epinephrine.
To prevent reactions to foods you will have to avoid eating those foods that trigger your immune system. Be mindful of your body and any changes it may be experiencing. If you notice any of the above symptoms, try finding what foods may be responsible.