A food allergy consists of an immune system reaction that is triggered soon after eating a certain food. In some cases, even a tiny exposure to this food can cause digestive problems, hives, swollen airways or even anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction that can impair breathing, affect heart rate, and cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure).
Food allergies are often confused with a more common reaction called food intolerance. However, food intolerance is a much less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.
Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but about 90% of all reactions can be traced back to eight food types, including cow’s milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, and sesame.
Approximately 8% of children under 5 and up to 4% of adults are affected by food allergies. There is no cure, but some children may outgrow their food allergy as they get older. Allergies to milk, soy, wheat, and eggs are more like to go away with age while severe allergies and allergies to shellfish and nuts are more likely to be lifelong.
Risk factors for developing a food allergy include family history of general allergies and asthma, age (most common in infants and toddlers), asthma, and other allergies (both general and food).
There is no one way to diagnose food allergies. A thorough medical history of symptoms and family history may be combined with physical examination, skin prick tests, and blood tests. The doctor might recommend an elimination diet, in which the patient eliminates suspected foods for a period of time then adds them back to the diet one by one (this is not recommended for severe allergies).
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the food that causes it. This may not always be possible, so for minor reactions the patient may be prescribed antihistamines with or without a prescription. For severe reactions it may be recommended to have an epinephrine autoinjector (an EpiPen) on hand in case of exposure to the allergen.
Having a severe food allergy especially can be stressful, and Bio-Touch has been shown to reduce stress. It is a powerful complement to any other treatments for food allergies.
The information presented here is for educational purposes only. Medical advice is neither offered nor implied. Please consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.