Understanding the Top 8 Food Allergies

Food allergies have become an important topic in recent years for a multitude of reasons. Their incidence has been on the rise, affecting 30% of adults and 40% of children. People can be allergic to just about anything but there are 8 allergens which are most common.

What is an allergy?

When your body is exposed to an irritant (known as an allergen), such as pollen, it launches an attack against it. Most of the time when this happens, we don’t even notice it. Sometimes, if there’s an overabundance of the allergen or your body is especially sensitive to it, this immune response shifts into overdrive. Your eyes water, your nosy gets stuffy, or you break out in an itchy rash. Some allergens cause life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis, which leads to a sudden drop in blood pressure and a narrowing of breathing airways.

Foods can also act as allergens. When someone is allergic to a food, they can’t eat it at all. Some allergies are so severe that people can’t even be near the irritant, as breathing it in or touching it could cause anaphylaxis. An allergy is different than a food sensitivity or intolerance. Intolerances, such as the inability to digest milk (lactose intolerance) are not typically life-threatening, although they will cause discomfort, such as bloating and diarrhea, if ingested.

The Big 8

The Big 8 are the cause of 90% of recorded allergies and labeling is required by the FDA to warn consumers of their presence or possible presence in foods.

1. Peanuts: Peanuts are actually legumes, which as a group are responsible for a large number of allergic reactions. People allergic to peanuts are not likely to be allergic to other legumes, such as lentils. Children are more likely to develop a peanut allergy if they already have an egg allergy.

2. Shellfish: Shellfish can also cause severe allergic reactions. Crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crabs) are the most common, although some allergic reaction may occur with mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters). Shrimp is considered the most allergenic.

3. Fish: Pollock, salmon, cod, tuna, mackerel, and snapper are among the fish which commonly trigger fish allergies. The allergen in this group is the fish muscle protein parvalbumin. These allergies are often developed during adulthood and are less likely to be outgrown.

4. Milk: Milk allergy is the most common allergy in infants and young children. A milk allergy causes an immune response to the proteins in milk. All milks, including those from cows, goats, and sheep can pose a problem. Most children outgrow their milk allergy.

5. Eggs: Also common in children, both the yolk and the whites of eggs can trigger a reaction, but in some cases the egg yolk is less allergenic. Eggs are not only used in foods, but also in skincare products and cosmetics which contain eggs. Most children will outgrow their egg allergy.

6. Soy: Also in the legume family, soy is an allergy that kids are likely to outgrow. Here in the United States, soy is most often found in processed foods, either as soybean oil or soy protein isolate. People with soy allergies may be able to have soy lecithin without issue.

7. Wheat: Wheat allergies are fairly common and typically resolve during childhood. A wheat allergy is different than Celiac disease, where gluten causes the inflammatory reaction. Celiac disease launches a different immune response than other allergens. Actual wheat allergies are uncommon in adults.

8. Tree nuts: One of the most potent and common allergens, tree nut allergies affect 1.1% of the world’s population. Those affected by the tree nut allergy should avoid macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and pine nuts. The reactions associated with tree nuts are often severe, with walnuts and cashews causing the most reactions. At least 90% of children that have a tree nut allergy will not outgrow it.

In Conclusion

Accuracy in food labeling is critical for people with allergies, but it’s not as easy to be sure when dining out. Don’t be afraid to ask your server or the chef what’s in the dishes, including any allergens the foods may have come in contact with. It’s in your best interest to enjoy your meal safely!

Understanding Allergic Bronchitis – Simple Prevention Tips

Millions of Americans suffer from one respiratory disorder or the other, which can impact their lives in serious ways. A respiratory disorder can be acute or chronic. Acute disorders can be easily treated and last for a short time. On the other hand, chronic disorders are not only difficult to treat but can also leave a person disabled for life.

What is Allergic Bronchitis?

Allergic bronchitis is a type of respiratory disorder. It is commonly referred to as allergic asthma. The immune system of a person suffering from allergic bronchitis is highly sensitive and so hyperactive that it attacks even harmless foreign substances that enter the body. To put it in other words, the immune system labels a harmless entrant into the body as “dangerous” and produces antibodies to fight against it.

In allergic bronchitis, irritants and allergens inflame the bronchi and lower parts of the respiratory system. The condition lasts as long as the person is exposed to the allergens. In addition, allergic bronchitis is closely associated with asthma and respiratory allergy and can lead to conditions such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

In most cases, allergic bronchitis causes mild to moderate suffering. However, it is important to realize that allergic bronchitis can become very dangerous and even cause death. This is because some people are extremely sensitive to allergens. This extreme sensitivity can lead to suffocation caused due to the blocking of airways by inflamed tissues. People in this condition are in great danger. They need immediate hospitalization and medical care.

You know you are a victim of allergic bronchitis when you suffer from breathlessness, runny nose, red or swollen eyes, hyperventilation, tight chest, tickling in throat, persistent sneezing or coughing, headache, nausea, and so on. As soon as you recognise these symptoms, seek the help of a medical practitioner.

Treatment of Allergic Bronchitis

The importance of consulting a physician as soon you notice symptoms of allergic bronchitis cannot be overstressed. The doctor will conduct the required steps to find out which type of allergen is responsible for your particular problem. The test involves injecting an allergen directly under the skin and observing the way your body reacts to it.

Your doctor might even ask you to see an allergist. Allergists perform a series of tests in order to understand the nature of your allergy to a particular allergen. In addition, allergists can also teach you how to prevent the relapse of allergic bronchitis.

Treating mild or moderate allergic bronchitis is fairly simple. You need plenty of knowledge about the disorder, and you also need to know the particular type of allergen responsible for your problem. Once you know, it is easy to just avoid the allergens responsible for your problem. The medical treatment for this condition is anti-histamine medication.

Prevention of Allergic Bronchitis

It is easy to manage and even prevent allergic bronchitis. As mentioned previously, the easiest way is to determine the particular allergen causing your problem and just stay away from it. In addition to this, it pays to know a few things such as the following.

The summer season can aggravate this condition simply because during the summer, there are plenty of allergens in the air.

Remember to bathe your pets regularly and free their fur from any allergens. A lot of allergens are frequently found in the fur of animals.

Take special care of yourself if you are suffering from allergic bronchitis. As already said, the condition can get dangerous.

Keep some antihistamine medication with you while traveling. You never know the type of allergens you might come across in an unfamiliar location. Having some anti-histamine with you will help you easily control any allergic reaction that might come up.

Be assured that it is possible to live a full, happy, and productive life even with allergic bronchitis. It is very important to keep yourself informed about your condition, ways of treating it, and way of preventing it. Be in touch with your allergist and your doctor. They are the best people to give you all the information you require about allergic bronchitis and to teach you how to live with the problem effectively.