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I'm Allergic!

Por Carola Sixto -
I'm Allergic!

Four percent of adults and 7 percent of children suffer from allergic reactions after eating certain foods. The symptoms are very varied. They can produce anything from hives to a narrowing of the body's airways. To prevent these types of allergies, it's essential to be well-informed.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), food allergies cause around 30,000 severe reactions and 150 deaths each year in the United States. Around 4 percent of adults and 7 percent of children under 4 years old suffer from these types of allergies.

Characterized by an abnormal reaction to certain foods, these allergies occur because the immune system mistakenly reacts to certain substances as if they were harmful.  Among the most common symptoms are: coughing, tingling in the mouth, skin reactions (like hives and itching), nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. But there are also more serious symptoms, like anaphylaxis or excessive sensitivity to certain food substances or drugs; difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and airway narrowing.

Be careful with these foods

If you ever happened to have an allergic reaction while eating but didn't recognize which food caused it, start paying special attention to the following foods:

  • Fish and seafood, like shrimp, crabs, and lobsters
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Prevent allergies by avoiding certain foods

The most effective and simple way of preventing food allergies is to avoid foods that cause them. It's that simple. That's why it's important to identify the substances that may cause an allergic reaction.

There's also a treatment called "immunotherapy," in which a small amount of an allergenic substance (substance that may cause an allergy) is injected into the surface of the skin. According to allergy experts, after several periods of applications, tolerance to these substances can be developed. However, when it comes to food allergies, this procedure can be dangerous.

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently testing different methods to develop a safer treatment, changing the substances that are currently being used or the way they're introduced in the body. They're also investigating ways to reduce or weaken the allergic reaction produced by the immune system.

Until a better solution is found, we must focus on avoiding foods that may trigger allergic reactions. Following a balanced diet can be very beneficial; besides eating healthy foods, you'll keep record of everything you eat. This way, it will be much easier to identify the substances that cause an allergic reaction.

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases / http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/

 

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