Food allergies have become more prominent in society today. One of the reasons is that more individuals are being tested for allergies and therefore their statistics are beginning recorded. The other reason for food allergies becoming more prevalent is not known. It seems that more children and adults are becoming affected by food. It should also be mentioned that there are a couple of different ways to look at food allergies and perhaps this is one reason for the prevalence being so high. There are food allergies, and then there is food intolerance. Often food intolerance is looked at from the point of view of being an allergic reaction; however there are some significant differences to the two.
A food allergy is a response by the immune system towards that stimulant. In other words the immune system starts fighting the food that was eaten causing rashes, anaphylaxis, and difficulty breathing. This is different from food intolerance because the immune system is not involved. Most often food intolerance is related to a lack of proper chemicals or enzymes needed to digest the food. For instance you would have lactose intolerance if you had issues drinking milk, but this is not considered a food allergy. There are going to be symptoms with food allergies that are absence in food intolerance cases. For example with food intolerance an individual suffers from stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, skin rashes, headaches and an unproductive cough. With food allergies the body can literally shut down so that the person cannot breathe without assistance from medication. Another way of looking at food allergies verses food intolerance is that food allergies cause a person’s body to swell, the throat to close, and the immune system to activate like it was fighting cold or other disease.
Food allergies can form by eating any food that you are allergic too and in some cases your body can have a reaction with your skin coming in contact with the substance. For instance those that are extremely allergic to peanut oil could have a reaction if they get some of this oil on their fingers. The reaction with food allergies is almost immediate. For some individuals it can take ten minutes, but most often you will see a rash or the throat will begin to close up within minutes of ingesting the food. For severe cases of food allergies many individuals have to have special diets as well as carry around an Epi- Pen, which has medication in it.
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