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What is a food allergy

What is a food allergy

Many people around the world suffer from food allergies. Worldwide, it is estimated that 6 to 8% of children are allergic to some food. The figures are a little lower for adults; only 2 to 3% suffer from food allergies.

Food allergies are allergic reactions to a particular food. These are caused by an exaggerated immune system response that occurs shortly after consuming certain foods.

Our body perceives as harmful a substance that is not harmful, called “allergen” (usually a protein). It generates a series of actions that result in the release of histamine and other inflammatory substances responsible for the allergic reaction, mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other cells to protect themselves.

Our body perceives as harmful a substance that is not harmful, called “allergen” (usually a protein). It generates a series of actions that result in the release of histamine and other inflammatory substances responsible for the allergic reaction, mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) and other cells to protect themselves.

What foods can cause food allergies?

Any food can cause an allergic reaction; even food additives such as dyes, preservatives, and thickeners are. However, there are a few that handle most allergic reactions. In children, 90% of food allergic reactions are caused by:

With adults, 80% of food allergies are caused by:

Less commonly, some people are allergic to certain fresh fruits and vegetables such as melon, apple, and pineapple. It is important to note that people who are allergic to a particular food may react to other foods; this is known as “cross-reactivity” and happens with some foods. For example:

What are the symptoms of food allergies?

Food allergies can produce moderate and severe reactions or anaphylaxis, the latter being extremely dangerous as it is life-threatening. Symptoms begin within 2 hours, although they appear in the first 30 to 60 minutes. Their severity will depend on the body’s immune response, the reactivity of the affected organ, and the allergen’s characteristics. In this sense, the most frequent symptoms are:

In anaphylactic reactions, symptoms begin within a few minutes and include bronchospasm, wheezing and arterial hypotension. These reactions are commonly more frequent in peanuts and shellfish.

How to prevent food allergies?

There is no way to avoid suffering from food allergies. However, once you know which foods you are allergic to, you can prevent contact with them by eliminating them from your diet. This way, you can avoid the symptoms of food allergic reactions that can be dangerous.

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