What chemical causes nut allergies

There’s another type of food allergy known as a non-IgE-mediated food allergy, caused by diverse cells in the immune system.

What chemical causes nut allergies

This is much harder to diagnose as there’s no test to accurately confirm non-IgE-mediated food allergy.

This type of reaction is largely confined to the skin and digestive system, causing symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion and eczema.

In babies, a non-IgE-mediated food allergy can also cause diarrhoea and reflux, where stomach acid leaks up into the throat.


Anaphylaxis

In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.

Call if you ponder someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:

  1. trouble swallowing or speaking
  2. breathing difficulties
  3. feeling dizzy or faint

Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.


Food additives

It’s rare for someone to have an allergic reaction to food additives.

However, certain additives may cause a flare-up of symptoms in people with pre-existing conditions.

Sulphites

Sulphur dioxide (E) and other sulphites (from numbers E to E) are used as preservatives in a wide range of foods, especially soft drinks, sausages, burgers, and dried fruits and vegetables.

Sulphur dioxide is produced naturally when wine and beer are made, and is sometimes added to wine. Anyone who has asthma or allergic rhinitis may react to inhaling sulphur dioxide.

A few people with asthma own had an attack after drinking acidic drinks containing sulphites, but this isn’t thought to be extremely common.

Food labelling rules require pre-packed food sold in the UK, and the relax of the European Union, to show clearly on the label if it contains sulphur dioxide or sulphites at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre.

What chemical causes nut allergies

Benzoates

Benzoic acid (E) and other benzoates (E to E, E and E) are used as food preservatives to prevent yeasts and moulds growing, most commonly in soft drinks. They happen naturally in fruit and honey.

Benzoates could make the symptoms of asthma and eczema worse in children who already own these conditions.

Sheet final reviewed: 15 April
Next review due: 15 April

A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods.

Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be extremely serious.

Symptoms of a food allergy can affect diverse areas of the body at the same time.

What chemical causes nut allergies

Some common symptoms include:

  1. swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth (angioedema)
  2. an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
  3. a raised itchy red rash (urticaria, or «hives»)
  4. vomiting

Read more about the symptoms of food allergies.


The rise in food allergy cases

The number of people with food allergies has risen sharply over the past few decades and, although the reason is unclear, other allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis own also increased.

One theory behind the rise is that a typical child’s diet has changed considerably over the final 30 to 40 years.

Another theory is that children are increasingly growing up in «germ-free» environments.

This means their immune systems may not get sufficient early exposure to the germs needed to develop properly.

What chemical causes nut allergies

This is known as the hygiene hypothesis.


The immune system

The immune system protects the body by producing specialised proteins called antibodies.

Antibodies identify potential threats to your body, such as bacteria and viruses. They signal your immune system to release chemicals to kill the threat and prevent the spread of infection.

In the most common type of food allergy, an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) mistakenly targets a certain protein found in food as a threat. IgE can cause several chemicals to be released, the most significant being histamine.

Histamine

Histamine causes most of the typical symptoms that happen during an allergic reaction.

For example, histamine:

  1. affects nerves in the skin, causing itchiness
  2. causes little blood vessels to expand and the surrounding skin to become red and swell up
  3. increases the quantity of mucus produced in your nose lining, which causes itching and a burning sensation

In most food allergies, the release of histamine is limited to certain parts of the body, such as your mouth, throat or skin.

In anaphylaxis, the immune system goes into overdrive and releases large amounts of histamine and numerous other chemicals into your blood.

What chemical causes nut allergies

This causes the wide range of symptoms associated with anaphylaxis.


Foods

In children, the foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

  1. wheat
  2. eggs
  3. soya
  4. milk – if a kid has an allergy to cows’ milk, they’re probably allergic to every types of milk, as well as infants’ and follow-on formula
  5. peanuts

In adults, the foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

  1. fish
  2. peanuts
  3. tree nuts – such as walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pistachios
  4. shellfish – such as crab, lobster and prawns

However, any type of food can potentially cause an allergy.

Some people own allergic reactions to:

  1. fruit and vegetables – these generally only cause symptoms affecting the mouth, lips and throat (oral allergy syndrome)
  2. celery or celeriac – this can sometimes cause anaphylactic shock
  3. pine nuts (a type of seed)
  4. sesame seeds
  5. mustard
  6. gluten – a type of protein found in cereals
  7. meat – some people are allergic to just one type of meat, while others are allergic to a range of meats; a common symptom is skin irritation


Who’s at risk?

Exactly what causes the immune system to error harmless proteins as a threat is unclear but some things are thought to increase your risk of a food allergy.

Family history

If you own a parent, brother or sister with an allergic condition – such as asthma, eczema or a food allergy – you own a slightly higher risk of developing a food allergy.

What chemical causes nut allergies

However, you may not develop the same food allergy as your family members.

Other allergic conditions

Children who have atopic dermatitis (eczema) in early life are more likely to develop a food allergy.


RELATED VIDEO: