Food Allergies: Everything You Need to Know
Food allergies are some of the most common diseases among Americans today. According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, about 15 million people in America suffer from food allergies. This is approximately six percent of the population, which is why it is so important to learn how to deal with them. According to Ms. Rachael Stillwagon in Gilbert, food allergies affect different people in different ways. However, some of them can be life-threatening. A life-threatening food allergy happens when a person’s immune system reacts to a specific food abnormally, resulting in a severe reaction. It can occur after coming into contact with even small amounts of certain foods.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, and face
- Difficulty breathing and speaking
- Dizziness or fainting
What Causes a Food Allergy?
Experts believe three factors may contribute to food allergies. They include genetics, environmental influences, and intestinal flora imbalances. A study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests that if you have a family member with asthma or allergic rhinitis, there is a high chance that you will develop an allergy too.
The second factor is environmental influences. Researchers have found that children who grow up on farms and around animals are less likely to develop food allergies as they get older. Constant exposure to certain microbes in the environment strengthens their immune system.
The third factor is intestinal flora imbalances. When there is a lack of “good” bacteria in a person’s gut, it becomes easier for food allergies to develop. There are various ways to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. These include:
- Consuming fermented foods
- Eating yogurt or probiotics daily
- Taking a high-quality acidophilus supplement under the supervision of your doctor
However, scientists have not yet found a definite correlation between food allergies and these three factors. This is why it is essential to understand that no matter the reason for your food allergies, learning how to deal with them is crucial.
As mentioned earlier, some food allergies can be life-threatening. These include peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.), eggs, fish, shellfish (including shrimp and lobster), soybeans, wheat, milk, and other dairy products.
If you are allergic to any of the products listed above, it is important to avoid them at all times. A great way to do this is by reading labels carefully before you eat anything.
Some labels to look out for include may contain:
- Produced on shared equipment with
- Made in a facility that also processes
In addition, you should always have an EpiPen on hand. That way, you will always be ready for a severe food allergy reaction.
If you are new to food allergies or think you may have one, it is important to consult with your physician before deciding on the best course of action. If it is a severe allergy, make plans to avoid the food altogether. By learning how to manage your food allergies, you can live a healthier, less scary life.