Incidences of allergic diseases such as asthma and eczema are becoming common place, particularly in the west. Food allergies used to be a medical curiosity but now almost every classroom has at least one child suffering from a food allergy. Babies with eczema are more likely to develop food allergies.
Allergies cause your immune system to get confused and your body becomes hyper sensitive to other wise harmless substances . This results in a reaction that causes the release of histamines which cause allergy symptoms such as sneezing and hives.
The hygiene hypothesis has been used to explain the increasing cases of allergies. The hypothesis suggests that the increasing cleanliness of the modern world does not stimulate our children’s immune systems enough. With too few viruses and bacteria to fight off, the body responds inappropriately to harmless substances such as pollen and certain foods. It has been noted that as certain parts of the world become more industrialized, allergies are being noticed in the population. Children who come from families with members who have allergies are more likely to develop allergies.
Food allergies usually begin during childhood and are caused by very few foods. The most common allergies are milk and egg allergies but these disappear as you grow older. Fish and sea food allergies are common in southern Europe and South East Asia while peanut allergies are common in the UK, US and Australia. Sesame, Soy and wheat are also problem foods.
Some food allergies are easy to detect; as soon as the food is eaten, an itchy rash develops, runny nose, itchiness, swollen face as well as vomiting are some common symptoms. Severe allergic reactions may cause breathing problems.
Sometimes it may not be so easy to detect a food allergy. These delayed allergic reactions make it harder to pinpoint the exact food causing the problem. Delayed allergies cause poor growth, colic, reflux, diarrhea and even constipation in infants. All these symptoms are common in normal childhood therefore food allergies may go un-diagnosed for years and cause chronic diseases.
A careful review of medical history and allergy tests are the only way to diagnose food allergies. Exclusion diets can also be used to find out the cause of the allergy. Parents should be able to recognize the symptoms of a food allergy so that appropriate treatment can be administered. The best treatment for food allergies is simply to avoid the food completely.
Food allergies are usually outgrown. There are no cures for food allergies; their greatest impact is on the lifestyle choices of the sufferer and their family but the impacts of a food allergy can be kept at a minimal and completely manageable level.
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First published at allergyuk