What are the most common allergies to food
Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.
- IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.
- non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system. This type of allergy is often hard to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop (up to several hours).
- mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.
Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.
Oral allergy syndrome (pollen-food syndrome)
Some people experience itchiness in their mouth and throat, sometimes with mild swelling, immediately after eating unused fruit or vegetables.
This is known as oral allergy syndrome.
Oral allergy syndrome is caused by allergy antibodies mistaking certain proteins in unused fruits, nuts or vegetables for pollen.
Oral allergy syndrome generally doesn’t cause severe symptoms, and it’s possible to deactivate the allergens by thoroughly cooking any fruit and vegetables.
The Allergy UK website has more information.
When to seek medical advice
If you ponder you or your kid may own a food allergy, it’s extremely significant to enquire for a professional diagnosis from your GP. They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.
Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.
Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended.
Numerous kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they are dependable, you should own the results looked at by a health professional.
Read more about diagnosing food allergies.
Most Common Allergies
Atopic Eczema (Dermatitis)
Eczema is a pattern of itchy skin rash consisting of tiny pink bumps that may join together producing ill-defined pink or red patches.
There are numerous types of eczema – some own known causes. Dermatitis is the term used for eczema reactions that are caused by external agents/factors. Atopic eczema is often referred to as “infantile” of childhood eczema because that is when it generally develops. Atopic eczema is generally associated with allergies (hayfever or asthma) in either the affected individuals or in their shut relatives. Read more…
Prescription drugs own been through a rigorous process of testing to ensure safety, despite this, a minority of individuals will develop side-effects.
Side- effects are termed “adverse drug reactions” by doctors and although the majority of adverse drug reactions are relatively minor and may even permit continuation with the drug, in some cases more severe symptoms can occur.Read more…
Rhinitis means inflammation of the lining of the nose Rhinitis is defined clinically as symptoms of runny nose itching, sneezing and nasal blockage (congestion).. Common causes of rhinitis are allergies which may be seasonal (‘hayfever’) or happen all-year-round (examples include allergy to home dust mite, cats, dogs and moulds).Infections which may be acute or chronic represent another common cause.
Rhinitis (whether due to allergic or other causes) is a risk factor for the development of asthma.
Rhinitis is also implicated in otitis media with effusion and in sinusitis which should rightly be termed rhinosinusitis since sinus inflammation almost always involves the nasal passages as well. Read more…
Allergy in Children
The bulk of allergic disease occurs in childhood, with asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema and food allergy comprising a significant percentage of the workload of doctors dealing with children in primary care and hospital paediatric departments.
In a recent large UK survey, 20% of children were reported to own had asthma in the previous year, 18% had allergic rhino conjunctivitis (hay fever) and 16% had eczema. This represents a massive increase in prevalence compared with similar studies in the 1970 s where prevalence rates were 3 fold lower. Of these children 47% had at least two co-existing conditions e.g. asthma and eczema. Read more…
Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
If someone reacts to a food, they may own a Food Hypersensitivity (FHS).
FHS reactions involving the immune system are known as food allergy (FA), every other reactions are classified as food intolerances (FI). Read more…
What is asthma?
Asthma is a condition that causes swelling and inflammation inside the airways of the lungs. This inflammation and swelling is there to a greater or lesser degree every the time in people with asthma.The more inflammation there is the harder it becomes to breathe.
People with asthma also own over-sensitive airways, so their airways react to triggers that do not affect other people. When sufferers come into contact with something that irritates their airways (a trigger), it can cause their airways to narrow. Read more…
The allergic process can affect the skin producing 2 main types of rashes namely urticaria (hives, nettlerash, welts) or eczema (see atopic dermatitis section).
Urticaria is a red itchy bumpy rash that is often short-lived and can appear in various shapes and sizes anywhere on the body.It is extremely common affecting 1 in 5 of the population at sometime in their lives.In some people urticaria is accompanied by large dramatic swellings commonly affecting lips, eyelids, tongue and hand called angioedema.
A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be extremely serious.
Symptoms of a food allergy can affect diverse areas of the body at the same time. Some common symptoms include:
- a raised itchy red rash (urticaria, or «hives»)
- swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth (angioedema)
- an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
Read more about the symptoms of food allergies.
In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.
Call 999 if you ponder someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:
- breathing difficulties
- trouble swallowing or speaking
- feeling dizzy or faint
Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it.
Research is currently looking at ways to desensitise some food allergens, such as peanuts and milk, but this is not an established treatment in the NHS.
Read more about identifying foods that cause allergies (allergens).
Avoid making any radical changes, such as cutting out dairy products, to your or your child’s diet without first talking to your GP. For some foods, such as milk, you may need to speak to a dietitian before making any changes.
Antihistamines can assist relieve the symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction.
A higher dose of antihistamine is often needed to control acute allergic symptoms.
Adrenaline is an effective treatment for more severe allergic symptoms, such as anaphylaxis.
People with a food allergy are often given a device known as an auto-injector pen, which contains doses of adrenaline that can be used in emergencies.
Read more about the treatment of food allergies.
What causes food allergies?
Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.
As a result, a number of chemicals are released.
It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.
Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:
- tree nuts
- some fruit and vegetables
Most children that own a food allergy will own experienced eczema during infancy.
The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to own a food allergy.
It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often own other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.
Read more information about the causes and risk factors for food allergies.