Food Allergy Testing
Food allergy test is used by doctor to find out if you have an allergy to a specific food. In simple terms, a food allergy may be described as an abnormal immune response to food. It happens when your immune system overreacts to particular protein found in a specific food and perceives it as a threat. Your body’s defense mechanism will in response attack it as if it is a pathogen. This scenario can happen during both your childhood and adulthood.
Food allergy incidence has dramatically increased in the last few years. Although there is no definite explanation to this, it is theorized that there are unexplained evolutionary changes in a particular child’s diet over the last three or four decades.
Another possible theory is the hygiene hypothesis. According to this myth, the generation today are brought up in a germ-free environment which results in a poorly developed immune system because the body is not exposed to these germs during the early life stages of life. This implies that when the person is finally introduced to a particular allergen during their adulthood, an allergy is more likely to occur.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Food Allergies?
On most occasions, food allergy symptoms are mild and well-tolerated. However, they may also sometimes turn out to be life-threatening. Symptoms of IgE-mediated food allergy can manifest within a few seconds or minutes after you have consumed the food. Most common symptoms include:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Hay fever-like symptoms such as sneezing or itchy eyes
- Abdominal cramps
- Itchiness and flushing over the mouth, ears, or throat
- Swelling on your eyes, nose, lips, and tongue
- Itchy raised red bumpy rashes in the body
Anaphylaxis is reversible but life-threatening allergiccondition that can easily lead to death, especially if you don’t seek treatment immediately. You should call 995 immediately if you are in a situation where you or someone is experiencing the severe symptoms as listed:
- Speaking and swallowing difficulty
- Feeling unconscious
- Tongue swelling
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Having difficulty breathing
For non-IgE-Mediated food allergies, the allergic reaction is caused at a relatively slower rate after you have eaten a particular food. This implies that it may take you a few hours or even a few days before you experience the symptoms. Symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Dry itchy cracked eczematous skin
- Red bumpy, itchy rashes
- Vomiting and nausea
What’s the Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance?
These are two completely different terms. Some of the major differences include:
- Food intolerance occur as a result of your body being unable to digest particular foods such as gluten, lactose, food additives, or any other food particle.
- If you are suffering from food intolerance, you will most likely experience symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and perhaps bloating. These symptoms will always manifest a few hours after you’ve consumed the food.
- An individual having food intolerance problems will need to eat a huge chunk of that particular food to trigger an allergic response. On the other hand, with a food allergy, you only need to consume a small portion of the food to trigger an allergic reaction.
What Are the Foods That Usually Trigger Food Allergies?
Nearly any food out there can potentially cause an allergic reaction. However, below are some specific foods that cause allergic responses:
- Tree nuts
- Vegetables and fruits
- Dairy products
Food Allergy Test
When you schedule an appointment with your doctor, he will first enquire about your allergy symptoms as well as a history of your exposure to the said food. As explained earlier, the most common tests that your doctor will use to determine the food responsible for your allergy include the blood test and the skin-prick test. He may also put you on a food elimination diet.
What Are the Possible Food Allergy Treatment Options?
The most viable option would be to successfully identify the culprit food and avoid it once and for all. Your doctor may require you to cooperate with him and create an effective food diary and management plan. This may be achieved through:
- Identifying the potentially allergy-triggering food.
- Avoiding the identified food.
- Being aware and able to manage initial stages of allergic reactions using antihistamine medication.
- Being aware of the symptoms associated with a severe allergic reaction and reaching for immediate help.
- Having an alternative diet replacement to have an adequately nutritious diet.
Injectable Epinephrine for Anaphylaxis
If you are already suffering from anaphylaxis, your doctor will prescribe you an epinephrine pen, or simply Epi-pen. You will be taught how to successfully administer this medication on your own anytime you are faced with anaphylaxis allergic reaction. This is a highly important medication that works fairly faster to enhance breathing and alleviate swelling symptoms in a few seconds. With this medication at your disposal, you only need to inject yourself with it every 5-15 minutes as required to improve your condition. However, you are still highly encouraged to visit the nearest emergency department for further medical care by a healthcare professional.
Living With A Food Allergy
Even though there is no guaranteed cure for food allergy, there are a couple of measures that you can adopt to ensure that you live a normal life. They include:
- Knowing and avoiding your potential food allergens.
- Being vigilant of the labeling of your food ingredients. If food labeling isn’t shown, make sure you ask and check before eating that particular food.
- Making sure you have a standby emergency epinephrine pen.
- Avoiding a restrictive diet when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Allergens To Test For
- Guinea Pig
- Honey Bee Venom
- When vacuuming, use a micro-filtered bagged vacuum as this helps to prevent allergens from leaking back into the air.