Do You Suffer from Hidden Food Allergies?
Millions of people in the United States suffer from food allergies. Some have severe reactions that can be life threatening. Although food allergies seem to be more prevalent in children, adults often don't know they are sensitive to eating certain foods, as symptoms may be minor but recurring. The challenge for both children and adults who have allergic reactions is to identify which foods contain ingredients that cause problems.
Because the symptoms are similar, many people think they are allergic when it is really intolerance to the food or ingredients in the food. Food intolerance is much more common than food allergy, but can be just as serious of a medical problem. The big difference between the two lies in the fact that an allergic reaction triggers an immune system response, which is not seen with food intolerance.
Common Symptoms of Food Allergies
- Swelling of the face (or extremities)
- Hives or rash
- Shortness of breath
- Itching and sneezing
- Dizziness or confusion
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of consciousness
People who have a severe food allergy do not have to eat the food. Highly sensitive individuals can have an immune response to a particular allergen by hugging or kissing someone who has. Although it doesn't really matter what you call the illness, it is important that a medical professional have an accurate diagnosis to recommend the best strategies for controlling your specific problem.
The eight foods that are most common to allergic reaction include peanuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy products, tree nuts, fish and wheat. Whereas children often outgrow their food allergies, that's not normally the case with adult allergies. If you or someone you know appears to be suffering an allergic reaction to food, seek the immediate advice of a healthcare professional. Although the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the problematic food, a doctor can determine whether you should carry medications with you in case of a food allergy-related emergency.