Food Allergy Awareness Week

Food Allergy Awareness Week

May, 10-16 is the Food Allergy Awareness Week created by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) to raise awareness regarding the different food allergies and improve public understanding of what can sometimes be a life-threatening condition.

The food allergy is an immune-mediated response to allergens in foods. When certain foods are eaten, or simply touched or inhaled, these sensitizing markers trigger the immune system into overdrive. The prevalence of food allergy is increasing worldwide. Likewise, more than 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind. Food allergy symptoms are most common in babies and children, but they can appear at any age. It can develop an allergy to foods even eaten for years with no problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food allergies are estimated to affect 4% Ė 6% of children and 4% of adults, which occurs when the immune system identifies a food or substance as a danger and triggers a protective response. This reaction may cause a wide range of symptoms, including Vomiting or stomach cramps, hives, shortness of breath, wheezing, repetitive cough, dizziness or feeling faint, weak pulse and anaphylaxis, etc. While any food can cause an adverse reaction, eight types of food account for about 90 percent of all reactions: such as eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, wheat, and soy. In addition, certain seeds including sesame and mustard seeds (the main ingredient in the condiment mustard), also are common food allergy triggers and considered a major allergen in some countries. Food allergy may also involve in affecting some other areas such as skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, and the respiratory tract.

Moreover, the food-related symptoms may occur within two hours of ingestion; often they start within minutes. In some very rare cases, the reaction may be delayed by four to six hours or even longer. The delayed reactions are most typically seen in children who develop eczema as a symptom of food allergy and in people with a rare allergy to red meat caused by the bite of a lone star tick.

Another type of delayed food allergy reaction stems from food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), a severe gastrointestinal reaction that generally occurs two to six hours after consuming milk, soy, certain grains, and some other solid foods. It mostly occurs in young infants who are being exposed to these foods for the first time or who are being weaned.

Sometimes, the diagnosis of FPIES may be delayed. FPIES is a medical emergency that should be treated with IV rehydration. Allergists ask detailed questions about medical history and the symptoms for the diagnosis of food allergy. Various skin tests and/or blood tests are used for the detecting the food-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies present in the body i.e. Skin- prick Test and Blood Test

  • Skin-Prick Tests provide results within 20 minutes. A liquid containing a tiny amount of the food allergen is placed on the skin of the arm or back and then the skin is pricked with a small, sterile probe, allowing the liquid to seep under the skin. The test, which isnít painful but can be uncomfortable, is considered positive if a wheal develops at the site where the suspected allergen was placed. As a control, they íll also get a skin prick with a liquid that doesnít contain the allergen; this should not provoke a reaction, allowing comparison between the two test sites.
  • Blood Tests which are less accurate than skin tests, measure the amount of IgE antibody to the specific food being tested. Results are typically come out in about a week and are reported in the numerical value.

The Food Allergy can be managed in the following ways:

  • To avoid consuming the food that causes problems. In addition, carefully check ingredient labels of food products.
  • Despite this, there are some other treatments to reduce minor and severe allergic reactions. e.g. For a minor allergic reaction, over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamines to reduce the symptoms. However, it canít be used to treat severe allergic reactions.
  • For a severe allergic reaction, recommended an emergency injection of epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room. In addition, many people with allergies carry an epinephrine autoinjector (Adrenaclick, EpiPen)

During this Food Allergy Awareness Week, Whystle Launched Personalized Product Recall App to Keep Parents Informed and Families Protected. This app provides personalized safety information and up-to-the-minute recall notices, especially for up-to-date allergen recalls. Besides, every three minutes, food allergy reactions send someone to the emergency room.

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