Food allergies affect about 3% of children and 1% of adults and can be caused by many different foods. The body’s reaction to those allergies is similar to those of environmental allergies, mainly the body treats that food as an enemy and sent antibodies to fight it.
While environmental allergies enter our body through the nose and mouth, and can be avoided or removed, the reaction to the food allergy happens inside the body and that is what makes it much more dangerous. As the person eats the food he is allergic to, he might feel an itch in his mouth, then when the food is in the stomach he might start vomiting, when the allergens reach and travel trough the blood stream it might cause a drop in blood pressure.
The histamines that are released into the blood can attack the ears, and they will itch, the skin and the body will develop hives or if the attack happens in the stomach it may manifest itself as pain or diarrhea.
The foods that are most common to cause allergies are shell fish (shrimp, crab, lobster), eggs, nuts and peanuts.
In small children the allergy can be caused by milk, eggs and peanuts and they can outgrow them. Adults who develop an allergy to certain food will keep it for the rest of their lives.
Not all intolerance for food is considered allergy. Lactose intolerance affects about one in ten people. It is caused by a different substance. The body doesn’t have enough enzymes to break down the milk. Instead the bacteria in the stomach feasts on it, creating gas and bloating.
The most dangerous for children is the peanut allergy, especially in the United States. It’s interesting to note that different countries have problems with different food allergies. In the United States the peanuts in it’s various forms as peanut butter is highly popular. In japan the most common food allergy is to rice. In Scandinavia it is to cod fish.
The danger in peanut allergy for kids is a severe drop in blood pressure, swelling of the throat up to almost a complete closure that might be fatal. The main treatment is to avoid those foods all together because the allergy might be triggered by a very small amount of the allergy causing substance.
People with severe food allergies have to be able to treat themselves when they accidentally ingest a minimal amount they were not aware of. They should carry with them, always, a syringe with adrenaline and be prepared to self inject when they think they are getting a reaction for something they ate. The symptoms can come about in a matter of minutes.