A food allergy is an abnormal immune response to food. Certain seeds, including sesame and mustard seeds, also are common food allergy triggers and considered a major allergen in some countries. A food allergy reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to a food or a substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response.
The signs and symptoms include itchiness, swelling of the tongue, vomiting , diarrhea, trouble breathing, or low blood pressure. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may involve the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory tract. When the symptoms are severe it is known as anaphylaxis.
The primary way to manage a food allergy is to avoid consuming the food that causes the problems. We should carefully check ingredient labels of food products, and learn whether what we need to avoid is known by other names. If the food is accidentally ingested and a systemic reaction occurs, then epinephrine should be used. Other treatments include: antihistamines, and steroids .
Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency department – that is more than 200,000 emergency department visits per year. Researchers are trying to discover why food allergies are on the rise in developed countries worldwide, and to learn more about the impact of the disease in developing nations.