What are Food Allergies? And Why Should You Care if You Can Eat Anything ?

By: DairyFreeGina

Let’s talk Food Allergies! You’ve heard the term and maybe even know someone with a food allergy, but what does having a food allergy really mean? I am allergic to milk and lamb so what does that mean for me and you ?

What is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy is a potentially life threatening condition where the body’s immune system thinks certain foods are trying to harm it. The body’s immune system mistakenly targets normally, harmless proteins and treats these as a threat . Histamine and other chemicals are released to fight the “invader,” much like the body does with bacteria or viruses.

A food allergy is NOT a food sensitivity or intolerance. A food allergy does NOT mean the affected person is a picky or fussy eater.

People with food allergies eat the way they do to survive. We can’t eat just a little bit of the food we are allergic too because even the smallest, trace amount of the allergen could send us into anaphylaxis.

How Many People in the U.S. Have a Food Allergy?

About 32 million Americans have a food allergy according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) – that’s one in 13 kids and 1 in 10 adults. In the U.S., food allergies send a person to the emergency room every three minutes.

Food allergies can develop anytime in a person’s life , yes even into adulthood.

Is there a Cure for Food Allergies?

There is no magic pill or vaccine to cure a person with a food allergy. The only way to treat the condition is to strictly avoid the food(s) you are allergic to .

Which Foods are Most People Allergic to?

While any food can cause an adverse reaction, eight types of food account for about 90 percent of all reactions: Milk, Eggs , Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish , Shellfish, Wheat, Soy and just recently sesame was added to the list of most common allergens .

What are the Symptoms of a Food Allergy?

Allergic reactions vary and not every food allergy reaction is the same. That’s why vigilant avoidance of the allergen is important.

Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food .

In some people, a food allergy can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis

How is a Food Allergy Diagnosed?

If you suspect a food allergy, see an accredited allergist. Do not waste your time on home testing kits, muscle testing, hair testing or other unproven tests .

An allergist will take a detailed health history and discuss the foods you eat and reactions to those foods. The allergist may conduct tests to help identify a food allergy. While these tests alone do not always provide clear-cut answers, the allergist will combine your test results with the information given in your medical history to provide a diagnosis. These tests may include: Skin Pick Test. Blood Test ,Oral Food Challenge, Trial Elimination Diet.

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Do you have a food allergy? Do you know someone with a food allergy? Tell us in the comments section how food allergies impact your life, and please share this post on social media and via email.

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