What causes apple 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.
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:
- trouble swallowing or speaking
- breathing difficulties
- feeling dizzy or faint
Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.
Types of food allergies
Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Food additives and children
Food contains additives for numerous reasons, such as to preserve it, to help make it safe to eat for longer, and to give colour or texture.
All food additives go through strict safety testing before they can be used.
Food labelling must clearly show additives in the list of ingredients, including their name or «E» number and their function, such as «colour» or «preservative».
A few people own adverse reactions to some food additives, love sulphites, but reactions to ordinary foods, such as milk or soya, are much more common.
Read more about food colours and hyperactivity.
Sheet final reviewed: 24 July 2018
Next review due: 24 July 2021
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:
- swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth (angioedema)
- a raised itchy red rash (urticaria, or «hives»)
- an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
Read more about the symptoms of food allergies.
Introducing foods that could trigger allergy
When you start introducing solid foods to your baby from around 6 months ancient, introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in extremely little amounts so that you can spot any reaction.
These foods are:
- seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
- shellfish (don’t serve raw or lightly cooked)
- nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
- eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
- cows’ milk
- foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
See more about foods to avoid giving babies and young children.
These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby’s diet, just love any other foods.
Once introduced and if tolerated, these foods should become part of your baby’s usual diet to minimise the risk of allergy.
Evidence has shown that delaying the introduction of peanut and hen’s eggs beyond 6 to 12 months may increase the risk of developing an allergy to these foods.
Lots of children outgrow their allergies to milk or eggs, but a peanut allergy is generally lifelong.
If your kid has a food allergy, read food labels carefully.
Avoid foods if you are not certain whether they contain the food your kid is allergic to.
How will I know if my kid has a food allergy?
An allergic reaction can consist of 1 or more of the following:
- itchy skin or rash
- runny or blocked nose
- itchy throat and tongue
- a cough
- diarrhoea or vomiting
- swollen lips and throat
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- sore, red and itchy eyes
In a few cases, foods can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) that can be life-threatening.
Get medical advice if you ponder your kid is having an allergic reaction to a specific food.
Don’t be tempted to experiment by cutting out a major food, such as milk, because this could lead to your kid not getting the nutrients they need. Talk to your health visitor or GP, who may refer you to a registered dietitian.
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.