What medicine to take for food allergy

Most food allergies affect younger children under the age of 3.

Most children who own food allergies to milk, eggs, soya and wheat in early life will grow out of it by the time they start school.

Peanut and tree nut allergies are generally more endless lasting.

Food allergies that develop during adulthood, or persist into adulthood, are likely to be lifelong allergies.

For reasons that are unclear, rates of food allergies own risen sharply in the final 20 years.

However, deaths from anaphylaxis-related food reactions are now rare.


What is food intolerance?

A food intolerance isn’t the same as a food allergy.

People with food intolerance may own symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps.

What medicine to take for food allergy

This may be caused by difficulties digesting certain substances, such as lactose. However, no allergic reaction takes place.

Important differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance include:

  1. you need to eat a larger quantity of food to trigger an intolerance than an allergy
  2. the symptoms of a food intolerance generally happen several hours after eating the food
  3. a food intolerance is never life threatening, unlike an allergy

Read more about food intolerance.

Sheet final reviewed: 15 April 2019
Next review due: 15 April 2022

What is food allergy testing?

A food allergy is a condition that causes your immune system to treat a normally harmless type of food as if was a dangerous virus, bacteria, or other infectious agent.

The immune system response to a food allergy ranges from mild rashes to abdominal pain to a life-threatening complication called anaphylactic shock.

Food allergies are more common in children than adults, affecting about 5 percent of children in the United States. Numerous children outgrow their allergies as they get older. Almost 90 percent of every food allergies are caused by the following foods:

  1. Shellfish
  2. Tree nuts (including almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews)
  3. Eggs
  4. Soy
  5. Wheat
  6. Milk
  7. Fish
  8. Peanuts

For some people, even the tiniest quantity of the allergy-causing food can trigger life-threatening symptoms.

Of the foods listed above, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish generally cause the most serious allergic reactions.

Food allergy testing can discover out whether you or your kid has a food allergy. If a food allergy is suspected, your primary care provider or your child’s provider will probably refer you to an allergist.

What medicine to take for food allergy

An allergist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma.

Other names: IgE test, oral challenge test


Treatment

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it.

Research is currently looking at ways to desensitise some food allergens, such as peanuts and milk, but this is not an established treatment in the NHS.

Read more about identifying foods that cause allergies (allergens).

Avoid making any radical changes, such as cutting out dairy products, to your or your child’s diet without first talking to your GP.

For some foods, such as milk, you may need to speak to a dietitian before making any changes.

Antihistamines can assist relieve the symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction.

What medicine to take for food allergy

A higher dose of antihistamine is often needed to control acute allergic symptoms.

Adrenaline is an effective treatment for more severe allergic symptoms, such as anaphylaxis.

People with a food allergy are often given a device known as an auto-injector pen, which contains doses of adrenaline that can be used in emergencies.

Read more about the treatment of food allergies.


When to seek medical advice

If you ponder you or your kid may own a food allergy, it’s extremely significant to enquire for a professional diagnosis from your GP.

They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.

Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.

Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended. Numerous kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they are dependable, you should own the results looked at by a health professional.

Read more about diagnosing food allergies.


Types of food allergies

Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.

  1. non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system.

    This type of allergy is often hard to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop (up to several hours).

  2. IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

    What medicine to take for food allergy

    Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.

    What medicine to take for food allergy

  3. mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.

Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.

Oral allergy syndrome (pollen-food syndrome)

Some people experience itchiness in their mouth and throat, sometimes with mild swelling, immediately after eating unused fruit or vegetables. This is known as oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome is caused by allergy antibodies mistaking certain proteins in unused fruits, nuts or vegetables for pollen.

Oral allergy syndrome generally doesn’t cause severe symptoms, and it’s possible to deactivate the allergens by thoroughly cooking any fruit and vegetables.

What medicine to take for food allergy

The Allergy UK website has more information.


What causes food allergies?

Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.

As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.

Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

  1. shellfish
  2. tree nuts
  3. peanuts
  4. eggs
  5. milk
  6. fish
  7. some fruit and vegetables

Most children that own a food allergy will own experienced eczema during infancy.

The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to own a food allergy.

It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often own other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Read more information about the causes and risk factors for food allergies.


Anaphylaxis

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

Call 999 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.


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