How To Recognize An Allergic Reaction To Food

Everyone experiences some kind of intolerance to certain foods at some point in their lives. However, only 5% of children and 4% of adults suffer from a clinically proven allergy to some kind of foods. If you are allergic to some foods or suffer from food intolerance, it is important to educate yourself about these conditions.

allergic reaction to foodThe medical definition of a food allergy is somewhat different from what we commonly perceive as an allergy. From a medical point of view, most people have an intolerance to a type of food. Food allergies occur when the immune system has an unusual response to a food.

The symptoms of an allergic reaction to food and of food intolerance can be similar but these symptoms are triggered by the immune system in case of an allergy. In some cases, the unusual response of the immune system can be fatal.

An allergic reaction to food occurs when the body produces immunoglobulin E when a certain food is eaten. The role of this antibody is to neutralize bacteria or viruses. However, if this antibody is released while there are no viruses or bacteria to eliminate, the antibody cells will attach themselves to mast cells, which are present in areas such as the digestive system, the lungs, the nose or the throat.

If the food is eaten again, the immunoglobin E cells attached to the mast cells will trigger the release of histamine, a compound that is supposed to make the job of white cells easier. But since there are no bacteria or viruses threatening the immune system, the histerine triggers an inflammatory response.

The inflammatory response can cause symptoms such as an itchy mouth or a swelling in the throat. If the mast cells are located in the digestive system, diarrhea, vomiting or pain can be symptoms of an allergic reaction. The foods that cause the allergy are usually not properly digested so the allergens they contain can trigger allergic reactions throughout the body.

Foods such as nuts, walnuts, milk, eggs and seafood are common triggers for food allergies. It is possible for children to outgrow allergies to milk, eggs or soy but adults rarely get rid of their allergies.

Telling apart an allergic reaction from an intolerance to food is not easy. If you experience itching or swelling in the throat, nose and ears, you are definitely dealing with an allergic reaction and need medical attention. If the allergic reaction affects your digestive system, the symptoms will be very similar to a food intolerance. It is best to seek medical attention if you ate foods that are likely to trigger allergic reactions or if your symptoms seem to keep getting worth.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, it is best to schedule an appointment to have some allergy tests done. These tests will determine whether your symptoms are caused by an unusual immune response to the food or if you suffer from a food intolerance. Regardless of what your condition is, do your best to stay away from the foods that trigger these unpleasant symptoms.