Friday, 9 November 2012

Food Allergy

• Symptoms
Food allergy is defined as ‘an altered reaction of the tissue to foreign protein or antigen’.
The substance responsible for initiation of the allergic reaction is an allergen or an antigen.
Causes of Allergy
Allergy can be caused due to:
Ingestion of food or drugs.
Contact with foods, pesticides, drugs, adhesives, feather or fungi.
Inhalation of pollen, cosmetics, perfumes, etc.
Injections of vaccines, serums, antibodies and hormones.
Food Contaminants as Allergens
The Contaminants of food for example preservatives, insecticides and insect excreta or fragments may act as allergens and the food by itself may be harmless. Such type of contaminants may enter the plant in the field or enter the food during storage, processing and shipping.
The common additives include color, flavoring materials, preservatives, and insecticides, etc.
For example, Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (N D G TA) is an antioxidant used in food fats, which has been found to produce allergic reactions in some individuals. Another food responsible for respiratory disorders like bronchial asthma and occupational rhinitis is coffee. Later, it was found that one of the active phenolic compounds found in coffee is responsible for the allergic reaction.
Types of Reaction
Allergic reaction arising due to food allergy are of 2 types:
Immediate reaction.
Delayed reaction.

Manifestations of allergy can occur in any part of the body.

Skin manifestations.
Examples include cancer sores, purities, urinary (rashes) dermatitis, blisters and edema.

Gastrointestinal manifestations-
Examples are constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and cheilitis, steatites and colic in children.

Respiratory symptoms-
Examples include asthma, bronchitis, allergic rhinitis and nasal polyps.

Neurological symptoms-
Examples such as migraine and tension fatigue syndrome like anxiety, fatigue, irritability and muscle and joint ache.

Other symptoms-
Anaphylactic shock, arthritis, arthralgia, etc.
Common Food Allergens
Cow’s milk.
Goat’s milk
Wheat flour
Soya been
Dietary Advice
Patient allergic to a particular food should avoid it for at least a period of time. Then after some years it can be tried but with great caution. The patients should recognize the offending food and should inform the doctor before treatment and diagnosis.

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