Your immune system prevents the invasion of your body by infectious organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and molds. These invaders are recognized as foreign by the cells of the immune system and are destroyed. But nothing, including your immune system, is perfect and that leads us to food allergies. A mistaken identification sets off a cascade of events that can lead to a very serious reaction.
Do all foods cause allergies?
While the potential is there for every food, certain types are more likely to cause allergic reactions. Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, shellfish and wheat are the likeliest suspects. The proteins in these foods have certain similar characteristics that make them appear alien to your body.
Skin and mucous membranes:
- Itching - Both the mouth and skin.
- Flushing - Blood vessels dilate and the skin turns red.
- Swelling - The skin and mucous membranes swell up as fluid from the blood seeps into the tissues.
Upper respiratory system:
- Nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose - Also due to seepage of fluid from the blood to the tissues.
- Stridor and wheezing - Swelling and edema of the voice box, trachea and bronchial tubes.
Lower respiratory system:
- Cough and shortness of breath - The lungs can fill with fluid in severe cases.
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain - Secondary to swelling in the walls of the intestines.
- Hypotension, shock and death - As fluid leaves the blood vessels, blood pressure drops and the heart no longer pumps efficiently.
Most cases resolve spontaneously and fatal cases are rare. Children frequently outgrow their sensitivity to milk, soy and wheat. But allergies to peanuts, nuts and shellfish tend to persist and run in families.
If you have a family member with food allergies, you want the best possible care. You want a Board Certified Allergist who will use science based knowledge to keep the ones you love safe. Too many supposed "specialists" depend on treatments that have no scientific basis. Keep your family safe. Set up an appointment with a real allergy specialist today for allergy testing.