Many unreliable tests and diagnoses have trailed food allergy testing, and it has always been a controversial area. However, the incidence of food allergies has increased four-fold over the last two decades.
Imagine you go out to eat, and then dip into hot salsa or spicy Indian food, your nose starts running. Or you get diarrhoea when you eat milk or cheese; then you might be lactose Intolerant. Most people who react to food are food insensitive or intolerant. There are different food allergies, and your body can mistake harmless food as something that makes you sick hence the reaction. So when you eat something you are allergic to, your immune system identifies it and responds to protect it. Your body launches a range of protective measures, including releasing chemicals like histamine, which causes inflammation.
A handful of foods can cause at least 90% of food allergy. Substances which causes an allergic reaction in foods are called “allergens.” Nearly all the allergens we see around are proteins. For most people, these proteins are not allergens because their immune system does not react to them.
It's the immune system’s reaction to these proteins that cause an allergic reaction. Most allergic reactions to food in children are caused by peanuts, milk, soybean, tree nuts, eggs and wheat while allergic adults typically react to citrus fruit, nuts, fish, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat.
Allergies are estimated to affect at least 5% of adults and 8% of children. Symptoms of these common food allergies include:
Food allergies are divided into two types: IgE antibody or non-IgE antibody. Antibodies are a type of blood protein used by your immune system to recognise and fight infection.
This is a common allergy in children. It is a reaction to triggered by small amounts of milk. Breastfeeding mothers of babies with an allergy may have to remove from their diet all foods that contain cow’s milk. A cow’s milk allergy mostly affects children under the age of three. A health professional may recommend an alternative to cow’s milk for babies who are not breastfeeding.
This is the second most common food allergy in children. However, 68% of egg-allergic children will outgrow their allergy by the time they’re 16. Symptoms can be digestive distress; respiratory problems; and others. Like other allergies, the treatment is an egg-free diet.
Around 0.4% of children are soy-allergic. It is most commonly seen in children under the age of 3. They’re triggered by a protein in soybeans or soybean-containing products. However, around 70% of children who are allergic to soy outgrow the allergy.
This allergy is in response to one of the proteins found in wheat. Symptom could be a stomach ache, rashes, etc. It can be diagnosed through Skin Prick Testing.