Eating a variety of foods in a balanced way is an essential habit to manage and maintain a healthy body. However, depending on your constitution, you may have problems when you eat certain foods. Food allergy refers to an allergic reaction to a particular food that our body judges to be harmful. When a substance that causes an allergic reaction is eaten or swallowed even in small amounts, various physical symptoms appear, and in severe cases, it can even lead to an emergency due to shock. It is said that if both parents are allergic, there is a 70% chance of developing it, and if one parent is allergic, the chance is about 50%. Food allergy is because the body’s immune system overreacts to the protein contained in all foods. About 90% of food allergies are caused by eggs, milk, nuts, shellfish, flour, soybeans, fish, etc. Bananas, soy sauce, soy milk, melons, strawberries, and red peppers are other causative foods. In particular, these food allergies are known to increase the risk of other allergies or asthma, newborns or infants with immature digestive organs. Now, let’s learn about the various symptoms that can appear when a food allergy occurs, as well as information on treatment and prevention.
Main symptoms of food allergy
When food allergy symptoms occur, various allergy symptoms appear in the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and respiratory tract. Symptoms include itchy hives, swelling around the lips and mouth, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, and may be accompanied by tears, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Food allergy is classified into acute and chronic according to the timing of the reaction. In acute cases, symptoms appear within a few minutes to 1 to 2 hours after exposure to the cause, and in chronic cases, symptoms occur within 1 to 2 days from 2 hours after ingestion.
When these food allergy symptoms get worse, symptoms such as shortness of breath, shortness of breath, chest tightness, tachycardia, dizziness, and atopic dermatitis occur. Headaches, including migraines, and nervous system symptoms such as malaise, agitation, drowsiness and depression may also accompany it. And in the worst case, it can lead to an anaphylactic reaction, a rapid systemic reaction caused by an antigen or antibody immune reaction, which can lead to a life-threatening emergency, so careful diagnosis and treatment are required. How to treat and prevent food allergies
1. Accurate diagnostic process
To accurately diagnose a food allergy, a detailed medical history related to the allergy is taken, and at the same time, the causative agent is identified through allergic skin tests and blood tests. If the cause of allergy is identified according to the diagnosis result, avoidance therapy is implemented first, avoiding the cause food. And if the symptoms are severe, you can proceed with symptomatic treatment using antihistamines and steroids. In addition, allergy immunotherapy can be performed to reduce the allergic reaction by continuously administering small amounts of milk, eggs, and peanuts.
2. Restriction of intake of causative substances
The most important thing in preventing food allergies is to identify the foods that are causing the allergic reaction and limit your intake. In particular, food allergies are often caused by the consumption of eggs, milk, shellfish and nuts, so you should permanently avoid those foods. It is important to avoid consuming these foods and to get balanced nutrients through alternative foods because nutritional imbalances can occur due to permanent restriction of intake of these specific foods. Also, even if you avoid allergens, cross-reactivity can occur when certain foods act as allergens. In order to solve these problems, it is necessary to understand and manage cross-reactivity well through diagnosis and guidance by a specialist.