is an abnormal response to food that is triggered by a specific reaction in the immune system and expressed by certain symptoms. Other kinds of reactions to foods that are not food allergies include food intolerances such as lactose or milk intolerance and toxic reactions. Food intolerance also is an abnormal response to food and its symptoms can resemble those of food allergy.
Food intolerance however is far more prevalent, occurs in a variety of diseases and is triggered by several different mechanisms that are distinct from the immunological reaction responsible for food allergy. People who have food allergies must identify and avoid them, although they are usually not severe, they can cause devastating illness and can even be fatal.
Symptoms of a food allergy usually begin within 2 hours after eating and can affect different areas of the body at the same time. Some common symptoms include:
an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
a raised itchy red rash (known as urticaria or hives)
swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth (known as angioedema)
Symptoms of mouth (oral) allergy syndrome:
Itchy lips, tongue, and throat
Swollen lips (sometimes)
Anaphylaxis - a severe allergic reaction:
In case you have digestive symptoms, bowel soothing herbs will help relieve symptoms such as diarrhea, gas and painful digestion.
In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life-threatening. If you think someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis – such as breathing difficulties, lightheadedness and feeling like they are going to faint or lose consciousness – immediately call for an ambulance and tell the operator you think the person has anaphylaxis or "anaphylactic shock".
In children, the foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are: milk; eggs; peanuts; tree nuts; fish; shellfish. Most children that have a food allergy will have experienced eczema during infancy. The worse the child's eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to have a food allergy.
In adults, the foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are: eggs; milk; soy; wheat; peanuts; tree nuts – such as walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pistachios; fish; crustaceans (shellfish) – such as crab, lobster and prawns. It's still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often have other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.
There is no treatment to cure a food allergy. The best way of preventing an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and then avoid it. However, avoid making any radical changes to your or your child’s diet, such as cutting dairy products, without first talking to your doctor. You should also speak to a dietician before making any changes.