Understanding food allergy : notes from a mom who had it
Food allergy affects more than 5 percent of Americans
Understanding food allergies : notes from a mom who had it
I had food allergy myself when I was a kid, my struggles with food and changing seasons allergies are like struggles for a lifetime, but I am glad I survived it. It brought back not so nice memories when you can't go out because you are allergic to changing seasons as well. The worst is you can't just eat any kinds of food you want, you need to know if you are allergic to it first. The feeling is that you are in a jail and you can't do anything, some kind of “freedom” is lost. Until five years ago, I started to treat myself with herbal, that’s for my seasonal allergies, but for my food allergies, I outgrow it and I am free of it seven years now. Imagine my fear when I had my first baby, I worried that he could also be allergic to some foods and other some form of allergens.
being a mom I am worried if my children will have food allergy as well
My food allergy was detected when I was three years old. I was tested by a medical doctor and they did a blood test on me,they found out that I was allergic to fishes, eggs and chicken. You can just imagine not eating those food, it was never easy. When I see my other siblings eating those foods, I envied them, but my mother warned me never to eat it. Mother does what mother does best, to warn everybody. Until I became a mom myself and the first thing I thought about when I was pregnant is that what if my baby inherit my allergies to food? The truth is I cried and have to inform my ob-gyne about it, I was really worried. The ob-gyne informed me that once I have allergies to foods, they must be careful in injecting me with anything when I give birth. Many years after that I am so glad not one of my children has allergies and I survived all my pregnancies and all my children are healthy without any complications.
Sharing all about food allergy
- I had to learn about allergies in general and specially food allergies. The information and knowledge in this hub are by-product of consultation with doctors, personal experiences and from my mothers medicine cabinet (natural made herbal medicines for every sickness). You see I grew up in Asia and we have all the necessary natural cure for everything. I cured my seasonal allergies by natural herbal remedies. With my food allergies, I say that it helped me a lot being knowledgeable and at the same time to be careful on what food to eat and some safety measures. At the moment, surprisingly, I don’t have it anymore, that being said, I am still careful in eating foods, better be safe than worrying again.
Protecting children from food allergies
Is there a preventive measure for food allergy? None, but you can be careful always when introducing food to children, taking note if there will be reaction, because sometimes allergies can be fatal.
- In the journey of my cure and battle with allergies, I learn to safe keep my children from it and take safety precautions. With all my children none of them have food allergies.
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skin rashes hives -- is one of the symptoms of food allergy
Understanding food allergies and its symptoms
Understanding food allergy
- Food allergy occurs when you eat something (called allergens and are usually proteins) and your antibodies react to it, usually the food you eat are harmless but your system is rejecting it through "histamines" -- which is released by your body upon knowing that an allergen invade your system.
- When you have food allergy the antibody protects you from the invader or the food you are allergic to. This antibody is what we call IgE -- a protein which can detect the food and supposedly protect you from the attack of food allergens. It is when your antibody reacts to the foreign invader that one experiences the reactions like the symptoms.
Common site of allergies:
- Mouth --swelling of the lips, tongue and itching lips
- Airways -- wheezing, breathing problem
- Digestive system -- diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting
- Skin - hives, rashes or eczema
The most common sources of food allergies are usually protein - dairy products, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, shellfish, wheat and rice as well
- With me, usually my eyes are itchy and my whole face feels like numbed and my tongue is swollen if I ate some fish or egg. I also get hives -- a swollen patch in my skin. I get also itchy all over my body specially at my back. Life is not easy as you keep on scratching your body, faces or where it attacks you. It is annoying and coupled with these uneasiness, you are prohibited to do this and that as I have also pollen allergy. Having an allergy in general is like you’re in a “prison cell” -- always restricted.
Food Allergy Pyramid -- shows the severity of allergies from foods
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Looking at the Food Allergy pyramid above, you can see that dairy products tops the list of food that have high allergens.
Different ways to test food allergies
- Elimination diet is a form of exclusion in which it is known if what foods are consumed without adverse allergic effect. This is to determine if you have food allergies or intolerance to a certain food
- Substance/food testing involves putting the allergens in a capsule and they let the patients get in contact with the allergens and they observe the patient if he/she will have negative allergic reactions to the allergens. This is conducted in an observable setting and with an allergist present.
- Skin prick needles testing -- where they put a food in your skin through the needles and will test the reaction of it in the skin. A hive will form if the person is allergic to the food.
- Blood test allows one to know if you have allergies to certain foods by getting sample of blood form the person and testing it with the value of IgE antibodies against the food allergen. IgE is an antibody present in our system. It will detect if allergens and antibodies will have allergic reactions. With me, I had a blood test when I was young and I heard the doctor told my mom to take away all fishes, eggs away from me. I was not allowed even to inhale any of it. That’s it with allergies, you need total elimination of what causing it. Contaminations should be eliminated at all cost.
Cures to Food Allergy
- Doctors usually recommend to totally stop eating the food that you have allergies and to avoid any contaminants. Food allergy can be outgrown but to know if you outgrown certain allergens it needs patience as you need to monitor the reactions of the food on you and you are observed in a setting at the hospital.
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Understanding food allergy
Some facts about food allergies and things we need to learn about it:
- According to Healthy Children Organization it is very important to differentiate food allergy from food intolerance, diarrhea, food poisoning. The main difference is that when you have food allergies you are not allowed even to inhale the substance, if you are food intolerant you can still eat small amount of the food.
- According g to Mayo Clinic, you can actually developed food allergy in later life
- Food allergy can be inherited, it can be transmitted biologically. So I was very careful what to give my children when I first introduced solid foods to them.
- Even food products in the supermarket, read the content carefully before you buy it specially if somebody has an allergy in the house.
- When cooking and preparing foods, you should eliminate all contamination.
- Inform other family members and friends of you not to let the child inhale any derivative of foods in which they are allergic. Most importantly if your child has allergy inform the school about it for safety measures.
- If you suspect allergic reactions, contact your doctor immediately.
- The good news about this is that some outgrow their allergies, 1 out of 5 children outgrow it and they are free of it when they reach the age of five but some will have it until they grow old.
- It is you who knows yourself so it is important to know what triggers your allergy, you can monitor it by getting a pad paper and a ball pen, right the amount of food and what kind of food you eat that cause the allergic reaction.
- When giving food to your children for the first time, introduce it little by little and be wary of reactions specially if you have allergies yourself. Observe the child thereafter if there is any reactions to the food.
Conclusion :Food allergies are caused by allergens (mostly protein) which are not harmful but present in the food that we take and it is negatively reacting to our antibodies that is why symptoms are felt in different forms. Food allergy can be tested in different ways plus it can be fatal that is why when you suspect that you are allergic to certain foods, you must consult an allergist immediately.