Food allergy, in reality, is turning into a universal problem. India is a nation with diversified food culture and has additionally obtained its very own arrangement of allergens as well. As indicated by national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, about 6% of individuals have at least one food allergy. It can affect individuals of all ages yet generally impacts people under 40 years of age and regardless, its pervasiveness is extremely higher in adolescents. Food hypersensitivities can roughly lead to 30,000 emergency treatments and 100 to 200 deaths every year. Shockingly, there isn’t much awareness about food hypersensitivity in India. The overall population isn’t much aware of the significance of food in activating the allergic reactions,for example, atopic dermatitis, rhinitis or asthma.
Food hypersensitivity is essentially an immunological response because of an ingestion of food. The response happens in few patients when they consume even a minute amount of food they are allergic to. The response can be mild, moderate or severe. However, most food allergic reactions tend not to be mortal but some can even lead to anaphylaxis and sudden death. There are two types of allergies-immunoglobulin (IgE) mediated and non-IgE mediated. IgE mediated reactions accounts for most of food allergic reactions although non-IgE mediated immune reactions is seen occasionally. IgE mediated responses includes IgE antibody responsible for a extensive variety of anaphylactic responses.
In India, food allergies is yet not perceived as major issue since it is considered as more easily avoidable. The commonly consumed foods which can cause allergies are fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products, egg and egg products, cereals, peanuts, soyabean, meat and fish and more. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and affect every individual in an unexpected way. Common signs and symptoms include burning sensation in the lips and mouth, swelling in the lips, skin rashes, itchy skin and additionally wheezing, sickness, diarrhoea, runny nose and spilling eyes. These were the basic symptoms which the food allergic patient usually experiences, however, few people can prompt severe food reactions or we can state “anaphylaxis”. It usully occurs after exposure to the particular allergen, however can take couple of hours too. Signs and symptoms usually come quickly and exacerbate rapidly. The manifestations of anaphylaxis may incorporate rapid fall in blood pressure, fear, a sentiment of apprehension ,itchy and tickly throat, nausea, respiratory issues, which often turn out to be dynamically more terrible. Irritated skin, skin rash which may spread quickly and cover other parts of the body. Other symptoms include sneezing, tachycardia (accelerated heartbeat), swelling of face and lips quickly, heaving and loss of consciousness.
It is believed that individuals who have family history of food allergies have multiple times higher risk of having allergy themselves contrasted with those with no family history. Individuals experiencing other allergies like asthma or atopic dermatitis have considerably higher risk of developing food sensitivity than individuals with no other allergies. Babies born by cesarean segment who were given antibiotics during childbirth or in first year of life and the individuals who had food introduced late following 7 months have higher risk of allergies.
Normally the one question emerges in everybody’s mind that for what reason do certain individuals experience the ill effects of these allergic reactions? It is believed that changes in dietary patterns might be the reason yet it could be because of lower consumption of animal fats and higher intake of vegetable fats. It can also be due to consumption of genetically modified foods which affects the immune system function during the development in utero and furthermore as individuals grows or ages. People who eat less fresh fruits and leafy vegetables can have food allergies, perhaps a lower antioxidant during adolescence undermines development of the proper immune system. Lower vitamin D intake result in higher allergic reactions.
If you suspect a food allergy, go to a specialists, who will take your family and medical history, decide which tests to perform (if any) and use this data to decide whether it is a food allergy or not. To make a diagnosis, allergists will ask detailed questions about your medical history and your symptoms. They can ask questions like:
· What and how much you ate
· How long it took for symptoms to develop
· What symptoms you encountered and how long they lasted.
After taking your history, your allergist may request you to get skin prick tests as well as blood tests done.
Skin-prick tests provide results in around 20 minutes. A liquid containing small amount of the food allergen is placed on the skin of your arm or back. Your skin is pricked with a small, sterile probe,enabling the liquid to seep under the skin. The test, which isn’t painful yet can be uncomfortable, is viewed as positive if a wheal (looking like the bump from a mosquito bite) develops at the site where the suspected allergen was placed. As a control, you’ll also get a skin prick with a liquid that doesn’t contain the allergen; this should not provoke a response, permitting comparison between the two test sites.
Blood tests, measure the amount of IgE antibody to the particular food(s) being tested. Results are typically accessible in about a week and are reported as a numerical value.
Your allergist will go through the result of these tests in making a diagnosis. A positive outcome does not really indicate that there is an allergy,however a negative outcome is useful in ruling one out. In few cases, an allergist will prescribe an oral food challenge, which is viewed as the most precise approach to make a food allergy finding. During an oral food challenge, which is conducted under strict therapeutic supervision, the patient is fed small amounts of the suspected trigger food in increasing doses over a undefined time frame, followed by a few hours of observation to check whether a reaction occurs.This test is useful when the patient history is unclear or if the skin or blood tests are uncertain. Because of the likelihood of a severe reaction, an oral food challenge should be conducted only by experienced allergists in a specialist’s office or at a food challenge center, with emergency medication and equipment on hand.
Just in case that the individual turns out to be food allergic, they should treat their food allergic responses by :
Elimination of diet – If the individual turns out to be food allergic, he/she ought to dispense that specific foods from their eating regimen. Elimination may not just mean not eating that specific food; it may also include never inhaling it, touching it, or eating foods with traces of it inside. Cutlery, crockery, cooking surfaces, and chopping boards must be free of that particular allergen. Patients will also need to read food and drink labels precisely. Indeed, even a few cleansers, pet foods, glues, and adhesives may have traces of a food allergen.
Medication: Allergic responses can be treated by antihistamines and epinephrine. Antihistamines are usually effective for patients with mild or moderate allergies. Antihistamines comes as gels, fluid or tablets. Histamines are chemicals which cause most hypersensitivity manifestations, and antihistamines obstruct their effects.Epinephrine can be given to people who have food allergies that may result in anaphylaxis. Epinephrine keeps blood pressure up by constricting blood vessels, and in addition, easing the airways.
Allergen immunotherapy: It involves exposing individuals to larger amounts of allergen with an effort to change the immune system’s response.The advantages may lasts for a considerable length of time after treatment is halted. It is generally safe and effective.