The difference between an allergy and intolerance:

Food Allergy

  • Occurs when the immune system reacts to a certain food
  • The body creates immunoglobin E (IgE)
  • When these antibodies react with food the body releases massive amounts of chemicals and histamines to protect the body – causing a number of symptoms of an allergic reaction

Food Intolerance

  • Is an adverse food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system
  • E.g. Lactose Intolerance – in which the person lacks an enzyme that is needed to digest the milk sugar (lactose) – symptoms include gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea

Common Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

  • Tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing and coughing and difficulty breathing
  • Hives / rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Drop in blood pressure – feeling faint
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

Allergic reaction symptoms…

  • usually appear within minutes or up to 2 hours after consuming
  • not all symptoms need to be present
  • don’t appear in any particular order
  • no two reactions are the same

Diagnosis

  • Two forms of diagnosis if suspected of allergies:

Skin Testing

  • Suspected allergens are injected into skin and reactions are evaluated and diagnosed.

Blood Testing

  • measures a “total IgE level” and is determined through the use of radiometric.
  • Uses anti-IgE antibodies with radioactive isotopes for quantifying the levels of IgE antibody in the blood.

Treatment

  • strict avoidance to allergy causing food is key
  • read ingredient labels for all foods – if the product doesn’t have a label than the allergic person shouldn’t eat it
  • Antihistamines- [Loratadine (Claritin)] block receptor sites for IgE antibody.
  • Cortisone- Reduce swelling from rashes, hives, swelling etc.

  • Vaccination- Gradual increases of allergen is introduced into blood stream to reduce hypersensitivity.
  • Epinephrine- (Epipen) suppresses the immune system and release of IgE antibodies.

Is there a cure for food allergies?

  • Currently there are no medications that cure allergies
  • Strict avoidance is the only way to avoid a reaction

Top 8 Allergy-Causing Foods

  • Peanuts
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Dairy products
  • Wheat

What is ANAPHYLAXIS?

It is the most severe and life threatening type of allergic reaction.  It can happen within minutes after eating or smelling a food.  Symptoms may include hives, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness.

An epi-pen (which is filled with an adrenaline called epinephrine) can help prolong the time a person has before they MUST immediately receive medical attention.

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