Could you be suffering from a food allergy?
Do you suffer from skin reactions: flushing, itching, hives, eczema?
Do you have gastrointestinal problems: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting or bloating?
Do you get respiratory system effects such as hayfever like symptoms including watery, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, and difficulty breathing or wheezing?
Have you ever had anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis)?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you could possibly be suffering from a food allergy. So, what is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance? Put simply a food allergy involves your immune system and an intolerance does not. A food allergy is an abnormal immune system response to the introduction of a food, an ordinarily harmless substance into the body. A reaction can occur within minutes, or a few hours, after the food is ingested. Whereas, an intolerance to a food is an adverse reaction that does not involve the immune system. Reactions can be immediate or delayed by up to 20 hours after a food is eaten. Reactions could be any or all from the list above and will vary from person to person and even between the foods they are allergic to: https://www.nhsheroes.co.uk/shop/codeine/dihydrocodeine-30mg-tablets/
Some people are allergic to only one food and eliminating this food from their diet is a relatively simple step. Unfortunately some people are allergic to multiple foods and maintaining a healthy balanced diet becomes a daily challenge. Eating out and socialising for those with multiple food allergies can become virtually impossible – especially when they are so allergic that the life threatening condition anaphylaxis is a possibility should they accidentally be exposed to an allergen.
Food intolerance is often confused with food allergy, but it is important to differentiate between the two because the diagnosis and management of these conditions differ. If you have family members who have an allergy then the chances of you or your children developing allergies is significantly increased. People with a family history of allergies are more likely to develop food and other types of allergies, although not necessarily to the same allergen! You also have an increased risk of developing an allergy if a member of your family suffers from asthma, hay fever, food allergy, eczema or hives.
Almost any food can cause a reaction, but 90% of food allergies are caused by 8 common foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish and tree nuts. Allergies to sesame seed and kiwifruit are becoming more common. More and more people are discovering that they may be allergic or intolerant to gluten (the protein found in wheat and wheat products) – latest figures suggest that 1 in 10 people could be sensitive to gluten.
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms in the list at the beginning of this article, it is important to note that they have many possible causes and you should consult your health care professional to rule out any other underlying medical conditions before embarking on food elimination diets. It can be useful to keep a food diary and make note of the foods you eat and a list of symptoms. The diary will assist your doctor or specialist with your diagnosis.