What food allergies make you sneeze
- Sinus disease
- Food, drug or insect allergy
- Hives (urticaria)
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis, atopic eczema or allergic dermatitis)
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
What is an allergy?
Allergies are the result of an overactive immune response.
The immune system, which normally recognises and responds to infections and cancers, reacts excessively to a trigger that is harmless to most people.
The resulting response creates symptoms such as hives, swelling, redness and itching.
Allergic symptoms can be mild or severe.
The most severe type of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis and it can cause death without treatment.
After exposure to an allergen, allergic reactions are generally quick, within minutes or hours.
How are allergies treated?
A excellent way to avoid an allergic reaction is to minimise exposure to triggers wherever possible. This is especially significant if you own anaphylaxis.
However, sometimes people may not know what they're allergic to, or it might be impossible to avoid the allergen, such as pollen during spring.
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In these situations, talk to your doctor about what you can do to assist manage your symptoms. Taking medications can assist relieve the symptoms or allergen immunotherapy may be considered. Common treatments include:
- Antihistamines taken in a nasal spray, eye drops or tablet;
- Corticosteroids are nasal sprays, skin creams and ointments;
- Bronchodilators are medications that expand the airways given by puffer.
If you own anaphylaxis, you'll need to carry adrenaline with you every the time, in case you own a severe reaction.
Talk to your doctor about the correct medication for your needs.
Some of these medications may own side effects.
For example, taking some oral antihistamines can cause drowsiness.
Allergen immunotherapy (also known as desensitisation)
If the allergen is known, another option is to "desensitise" the immune system to the specific allergen.
This process involves exposing a person to increasing doses of an allergen over time.
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This is typically done via injections or high doses of oral extracts placed under the tongue.
The purpose is for the immune system to no longer produce an allergic reaction in response to an allergen.
Allergen immunotherapy can take a few years, and tends to work best for hay fever and people with severe allergy to insect stings. It is a form of therapy used when medicines don't work, or as an alternative to medication.
Unfortunately, it is not yet in routine use but is an athletic area of research.
Allergen immunotherapy should only be done by a specialist doctor trained in treating allergies.
There are a number of diverse allergic conditions, depending on where the allergic reaction takes put in the body, and what tissues are affected.
Hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) is an inflammation of the nose, the sinus passages, throat, ears, and the conjunctiva (tissues covering the whites of the eyes).
Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, red watery eyes and sinus headache. The trigger is not always pollen from grasses, weeds or trees.
Dust mite protein, moulds and pet dander (tiny flecks of dead skin) can trigger allergies that happen every year around.
Asthma is a condition in which the airways become inflamed and constricted leading to difficulty breathing and wheezing. It is extremely common in Australia, affecting around one in 10 Australians.
Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis, atopic eczema or allergic dermatitis) is an inflammation of the skin. Eczema is most common in children but it can happen in people of any age.
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Some people can own allergic reactions to certain foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat and seafood.
Food allergies can cause mild or moderate symptoms such as skin rash or hives, or in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
Around 10 per cent of one-year-olds own a food allergy. Food allergy doesn't only happen in children, it can arise at any age. Deaths from food-related anaphylaxis are most common in teenagers and young adults.
Insect allergy. Bees, wasps and ants are the most common causes of insect allergy in Australia.
Insect allergy reactions can result in mild or moderate reactions such as local swelling. However, they can also be just as serious as those triggered by food allergy and can result in death.
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Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening.
It can be caused by allergy to foods, insect stings and medicines (commonly antibiotics).
The allergic reaction can cause a catastrophic drop in blood pressure or it can make the airways contract, making breathing hard.
When someone has anaphylaxis they need immediate treatment in the form of an injection of adrenaline using an adrenaline autoinjector (such as an EpiPen) and emergency medical treatment.
While it's terrifying and potentially dangerous, deaths from anaphylaxis are not common and people generally survive if they get the emergency assist they need.
How can you manage allergies?
Most people manage their allergies through a combination of avoiding their known allergens where possible and using treatments to relieve the symptoms.
Most people manage to get their symptoms under reasonable control.
There is currently no way of curing an allergy but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing allergies:
- Breastfeed your baby for the first 4-6 months, if possible, and introduce solid foods around six months (but not before four months).
- While breastfeeding, attempt to introduce every allergenic foods by the age of 12 months.
- Don't smoke during pregnancy or in the presence of a child.
Having an action plan can assist people manage their allergies, including what medications to take, and when and what to do in the event of a medical emergency.
Most people diagnosed with asthma or anaphylaxis will be given an action plan by their doctor.
Educate your friends, family, school staff and community about you or your child's allergy. They frolic a vital role in helping avoid allergy triggers and can get assist in an emergency.
This is general information only. For detailed personal advice, you should see a qualified medical practitioner who knows your medical history.
This article, which was originally published by ABC Health & Wellbeing, was updated in 2019.
We thank the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) for expert input.
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If you often start to sneeze and own a runny nose after a meal, you may own food allergies. A food allergy can cause annoying symptoms in some people, but it can own serious consequences for others.
Contact a medical professional if you suspect that you are sneezing and your nose is running because of food allergies.
A runny nose can be an annoyance.
Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images
How are allergies diagnosed?
Often people can self-diagnose and manage a simple allergy, such as hay fever.
But if this doesn't assist or the symptoms are serious or affecting your quality of life, then it's significant to see a GP.
Depending on your symptoms and the type of allergy you own, you may also need to see a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.
There are a lot of allergy tests on the market that are not scientifically proven and not useful in diagnosing allergies such as cytotoxic food testing, kinesiology, Vega testing, electrodermal testing, pulse testing, reflexology and hair analysis.
Allergy testing can assist identify the allergen or allergens you are reacting to.
Skin prick testing involves introducing a tiny quantity of a potential allergic trigger into the skin.
If the person is allergic to one or more allergens, then the area around the injection site will become red and raised.
Blood tests for allergen-specific antibodies may be needed for people who own eczema or anaphylaxis; cannot come off antihistamines; or own a history of allergic symptoms but test negative with skin prick testing.
Patch tests may be applied by your doctor if you own contact dermatitis.
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