Food allergy, which thousands of people are exposed to every year around the world, can negatively affect your routine life. Some allergies can cause minor symptoms, while others can cause severe reactions. Well, if you ask what is food allergy and what are the best ways to live with this problem, let’s examine it together….
What is a Food Allergy?
In the most general sense, it occurs when your immune system reacts abnormally to certain foods. Reaction symptoms continue from sneezing and nasal discharge to anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis; It is a potentially life-threatening reaction that puts the body in shock by disrupting breathing. That means; food allergy is not something to be taken lightly!
Unfortunately, there is still no known active treatment of food allergy today. But the best way to prevent reaction; avoiding foods that you are allergic to. However, by avoiding food allergens, you can quickly recognize and manage allergic reactions that occur, preventing serious health problems that may occur. So how? Here are tips to help you deal with your food allergy.
- Read Food Labels!
According to the researches; Individuals with allergies often misread food labels. Although there are 160 foods that are actually banned, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) in the USA highlights the 8 most common allergenic foods.
The 8 foods that have the most allergic effects on the body are;
- The fish
- It is soy and soybean.
According to FALCPA; Any ingredient containing any of these 8 foods or protein derived from them must be identified as a ‘major food allergen’.
Allergens on food labels are identified in 3 ways;
- Content name; for example, while ‘milk’ is the name of the allergen, it may appear in the ingredient name ‘ayran’.
- After the ingredient name on the labels, a food allergen is ‘whey’, namely milk; lecithin ie soy; It should be perceived as ‘flour’, that is, wheat.
- ‘Includes statement’; Attention should be paid to the statement ‘ contains or may contain milk, soy, and wheat in the ingredients section.
In this context, you should always be careful when buying an unlabeled product such as a cake from the bakery!
- Avoid Cross Contact!
Cross-contact occurs when an allergen is inadvertently transferred from a food containing the allergen to a food that does not contain the allergen. Cross-contact can occur if an allergen is applied directly or indirectly to another food.
Individuals with food allergies should be absolutely aware of the potential cross-contact of non-allergenic foods with allergenic foods and of cross-reactivity between related foods.
You can also avoid cross-contact with some tips:
Remove all the food you cannot consume in your kitchen, fridge, freezer, and pantry!
Clean all your pots, cooking utensils including the stove and oven with soap and water!
If you live several times at home, create your own separate cooking space!
If different dishes are to be cooked, give priority to foods that do not cause allergies!
Clean the table and counter with soap and water after every meal!
Never share your food to avoid cross-contact!
When eating out, indicate that you have an allergy and order a suitable meal!
- Recognize Your Symptoms!
It is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms in your body, especially if you have a food allergy such as anaphylaxis. Remember that detecting a reaction early can save your life …
The reaction patterns of food allergies in the body can be as follows;
Skin; itching, rash, hives, red bumps, swelling under the skin, rash
Eye; itching, tears, redness, swelling around the eyes
Upper respiratory tract; runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarseness, dry cough, itching
Lower respiratory tract; chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, cough
Mouth; swelling of the tongue, palate, or lips, itching
Gastrointestinal; nausea, reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stools
Cardiovascular; fast or slow heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, unconsciousness
Recognizing the symptoms of anaphylaxis can be a bit difficult. A single reaction that usually resolves with or without treatment after exposure to food; may occur as two reactions occurring 8 to 72 hours apart, or as a prolonged reaction that can last for hours or even days.
Do not forget that; If you experience any of the three conditions listed below within minutes to a few hours after exposure to food, you are likely dealing with an anaphylactic episode…
- Any symptoms including trouble with the moist mucosal tissue of your skin, nose, mouth, or gastrointestinal tract, trouble breathing, or a sudden drop in blood pressure, confusion, or loss of consciousness.
- Hives, itching, swelling of the tongue or lips, difficulty breathing, drop in blood pressure, abdominal cramps, or vomiting.
- A sudden drop in blood pressure causing weakness or fainting.
An intramuscular injection of epinephrine should be used to treat an anaphylactic reaction as soon as possible after it has occurred .
Learn to Use Adrenaline Auto-Injector!
Anaphylaxis can be treated with epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). Epinephrine works best when injected a few minutes after an allergic reaction and quickly treats throat swelling, respiratory distress, and low blood pressure.
Any delay in the use of epinephrine can even cause death from anaphylaxis within 30-60 minutes. For this reason, you should definitely learn the use of auto-injectors and always carry it with you and inform the people around you.
Stay healthy …