Food Allergies – Take back control of your life
- Do you suffer from a true food allergy or merely a food sensitivity? The answer could mean life or death. When food intolerance can be an uncomfortable annoyance, a food allergy can turn into a deadly reaction.
- “An intolerance is a non-immunologic response,” This means your body’s reaction has nothing to do with your immune system. You suffer from lactose intolerance, from example, if your digestive system doesn’t make enough lactase, an enzyme that breaks down sugar in dairy foods.
- Other substances that cause different reactions include sulfites, histamines, monosodium glutamate (MSG), red wine, chocolate, and artificial food colours.
- Although food allergies mostly occur during childhood, some carry over into adulthood. Occasionally, they suddenly appear in adults who
nevehad a problem before.
- A true food allergy though is your immune system overreacting to a certain food.
- your mouth might tingle or your throat might tighten up, causing coughing, wheezing, and choking.
- Rash Over the body
- The worse case scenario – anaphylactic shock – causes your blood pressure to drop dangerously low and your windpipe to close up.
Common types of food that can cause allergic reaction
- Peanuts, tree nuts like walnuts, cashews, pecans, and almonds; milk; egg; fish; soybeans; and wheat.
- Recently, experts discovered that even such an unlikely food such as zucchini can bring on reaction. So can inulin, a carbohydrate found in some processed foods and in vegetables like artichokes.
10 Steps to Manage Your Food Allergies
Get a diagnosis
- When you have a reaction after eating food, notify your doctor immediately. He can determine and begin treating the real cause. whether it’s an allergy, an intolerance, or something totally different like a case of food poisoning, celiac disease, or an ulcer.
- He may even refer you to an allergist.
Keep a diary
- An accurate record of what and when you eat can help your doctor pinpoint exactly what’s ailing you. Also, note your symptoms, how the food was prepared, and if anyone else got sick.
Learn your trouble foods
- Ask your doctor about cross-sensitization. This means you could be allergic to a “family” of foods – a reaction to shrimp could be a sign of allergy to lobster or crab as well.
- On the other hand, oils made from certain foods, like peanuts or soybeans, are often safe to eat since the refining process removes most of the allergy-causing ingredients.
- However, there are always exceptions, including cold-pressed and foreign-processed oils and those used in restaurants. Talk with your doctor before trying different oils.
Ask the chef
- Eating at restaurants can be the trickiest feat facing an allergy victim. The two biggest dangers are hidden ingredients in sauces, dressings, etc. and cross-contamination – when allergens get into food unexpectedly.
- A chef, for instance, could use the same spoon in your veggie stir-fry that he used in peanut chicken. If you’re very sensitive to nuts, that would be enough to cause a deadly reaction.
- Prevent this from happening by asking questions. Double-check ingredients listed in the menu, and don’t hesitate to quiz your waiter or even the chef about the exact ingredients of a dish.
- If they think you’re nutty, remind them that you could die from eating the wrong food. In fact, they’ll take your questions more seriously if you let them know you’re allergic.
Be wary of ingredient lists
- Packaged foods can hide your allergen where you least expect it. Snack cakes, for instance, can contain small amount of nuts, and that soup packet might be enriched with powdered milk. Labels don’t always say when products contain one of the Big Eight.
Just say no
- Doctors do not have a cure for food allergies yet, so sometimes it’s safest just to avoid a type of food or restaurant altogether.
- Chinese restaurants could be one no-no for peanut allergy sufferers since the chance of cross-contamination is high. Restaurant desserts often contain flavorings or extracts that even the chef won’t know about. And street vendors might be less likely to reveal allergy-causing ingredients.
Wash away allergens
- Good kitchen hygiene is a big part of guarding against cross-contamination, says the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
- After using any utensil, cutting board, pot or pan, it’s important to wash it carefully with soap and hot water to remove all allergen-causing particles.
Carry emergency medication
- Whenever you go, medicine to stop allergic reactions should go, too. The most common emergency treatment – a shot of epinepherine or adrenaline – requires a prescription. That’s one more reason to see a doctor about your condition.
Wear medical alert info
- In case you suffer anaphylactic shock, emergency medical personnel need to know exactly what is wrong and what needs to be done.
Have a positive attitude
- . Just because you have a food allergy doesn’t mean you have to live on bread and water. You can still eat many of the foods you enjoy