Having a food allergy triggers an immune reaction in your body called an immunoglobulin E (IgE) response. When the body comes into contact with a food item that you are allergic to, your body will make an antibody called IgE in an attempt to fight off the offending food. The IgE response includes the release of histamine and other chemicals that produce allergic symptoms such as digestive issues, hives, and swollen airways. The body does not need a large amount of the food to create an allergic response – even minute particles can trigger an allergic reaction. In fact, some people can get allergic reactions just from cross contamination of cooking tools, cookware or other food containers.
Most people with food allergies don’t know what type of reaction they will have – it can be mild or severe. If they had a mild reaction one time it does not mean they will continue to have mild reactions when they come into contact with the offending food. Therefore, the food needs to be avoided completely. Food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis. Most people who are aware of their food allergies also carry an Epi-pen to use in the case of anaphylaxis.
Many children start life with a food allergy but will outgrow it as they get older. It is not known why this occurs except that it may be children have an immature immune system. It’s suspected that about 3% of the adult population has food allergies.
The most common food allergies are:
If you suspect a food allergy, you can confirm it with a simple blood test. Order your discount blood allergy test at HealthOneLabs.com to assist with allergy analysis and it can also be a tool to help you avoid certain foods that create an allergic response.
It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. Having a food intolerance is a much less serious condition that does not involve the immune system. Food intolerances can be painful and inflict discomfort but they are not life-threatening nor do they involve the immune system.
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