What To Do With A Food Allergy?

by Riley Hendersen - Date: 2007-03-17 - Word Count: 502 Share This!

For many, food centers on celebrations - holidays, school events, special occasions, and family reunions. Food is not only a source of energy and sustenance, but for some, food is a highlight at these events. Food is what we look forward to as we sit down at the big table to celebrate. But unfortunately, for an individual that is managing a food allergy, these joyous events can be uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing.

A food allergy is usually diagnosed during early childhood, but some individuals can develop an allergy to a certain food in the later stages of life. In order to make a proper diagnosis, an allergist, a doctor who specializes in allergies, will begin testing. Testing may include a scratch test to expose the skin to possible irritants. If the skin reacts by exhibiting redness or swelling, the individual may have sensitivity to the corresponding type of food.

Ninety-percent of allergic reactions stem from fish and shellfish, milk, nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts and cashews, and eggs. Even though these foods account for a majority of the food allergy cases, some individuals may be allergic to any type of food such as fruits, vegetables, and certain types of meats.

When an individual has a food allergy, they may experience itching, hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, watery eyes, stuffy or itchy nose, and excessive sneezing during exposure to a certain food.

Occasionally a food allergy can lead to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis causes the body to react to the allergy within minutes or hours after being exposed to the food. At times, anaphylaxis can develop extremely quickly. During this type of reaction, an individual may experience difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, tingling sensations throughout the body, and tightness in the throat. Anaphylaxis can progress quickly and may become life threatening if treatment is not received immediately.

Dealing with a food allergy is sometimes difficult. Watching what you eat and being aware of the ingredients contained in food is very important. In order to be in control of a food allergy, individuals need to eliminate the food item from their diet. Medications are not available for food allergies, so the best course of action is to stay clear of the foods that are known to cause distress; this includes both the eating and touching of foods.

In addition to preparedness, communication is the key to successfully managing a food allergy. This includes asking the ingredients contained in menu items when eating out. Also, be sure to discuss a food allergy with a host of a party you are attending. Explaining a food allergy to the people serving the food will give you the important information you need to prevent becoming ill.

Being aware of the menu before an event and choosing the best available options can help minimize anxiety about having a reaction to a food allergy. Knowing what is available and reading the ingredient labels can assist individuals who suffer from a food allergy in making educated decisions; which can help return a passion for food and enjoyment to return to those joyous celebrations.

Related Tags: allergies, allergy, food allergies, food allergy

For more information on allergies try visiting http://www.theallergyeffect.com - a website that specializes in providing allergy related tips, advice and resources to including information on food allergy.

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