A food allergy is an adverse immune
response to a food protein. They are
distinct from other adverse responses to
food, such as food intolerance,
pharmacological reactions, and
toxin-mediated reactions. A protein in
the food is the most common allergic
component. These kinds of allergies
occur when the body's immune system
mistakenly identifies a protein as
harmful. The immune system, thinking the
organism (the individual) is under
attack, triggers an allergic reaction.
These reactions can range from mild to
severe. Allergic responses include
dermatitis, gastrointestinal and
respiratory distress, including such
life-threatening anaphylactic responses
as biphasic anaphylaxis and vasodilation;
these require immediate emergency
A food allergy can initially be
experienced as an itching in the mouth
and difficulty swallowing and breathing.
Then, during digestion of the food in
the stomach and intestines, symptoms
such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and
abdominal pain can start. When they
reach the skin, allergens can induce
hives or eczema, and when they reach the
airways, they can cause asthma.
Common food allergens include milk,
wheat, soy, walnuts, cashews, peanuts,
eggs, many food colors and additives.
Treatment consists of either
immunotherapy (desensitization) or
avoidance, in which the allergic person
avoids all forms of contact with the
food to which they are allergic.
TREATMENT OF FOOD ALLERGIES THROUGH
The mainstay of treatment for food
allergy is avoidance of the foods that
have been identified as allergens. For
people who are extremely sensitive, this
may involve the total avoidance of any
exposure with the allergen, including
touching or inhaling the problematic
food as well as touching any surfaces
that may have come into contact with it.
If the food is accidentally ingested
and a systemic reaction (anaphylaxis)
occurs, then immediate medical treatment
would be necessary.
The diet otherwise remains normal with
adequate amounts of calories, proteins
(identified non allergic), fat, minerals
and vitamins as per the requirements of
age, sex, and physiological condition to
sustain life processes.
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