COULD YOU HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY?
If you think a particular food is causing allergy symptoms, speak to your doctor about having a food allergy test. In the meantime, avoid the food and be careful about contamination from other sources. It is not easy to predict when a reaction will occur or if your symptoms will worsen or become life-threatening.
The most common food-allergy triggers are eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, sesame, soy, fish and wheat.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The severity of allergic reactions often depend on: » The amount eaten » Whether the allergen was a liquid or a solid – liquids may absorb faster
» Whether it is eaten on its own or mixed in with other foods
» Whether the food is cooked, as cooked food is sometimes better tolerated
» The presence or absence of asthma » Where you are in your cycle
» Alcohol intake
» How recently you exercised, as this may worsen symptoms.
FOOD ALLERGY AND YOUR BODY
An allergic reaction to food can affect different parts of the body including: Eyes – itching, watering Nose – stuffiness, sneezing, running Mouth – itching, swelling Throat – swelling Digestive system – stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea Skin – rashes, such as hives or atopic dermatitis. Lungs – wheeze, cough, asthma Central nervous system – headache, irritability, fatigue, convulsions.
MAKE SURE YOU:
» See an allergy specialist who will help you write an ASCIA Action Plan
» Learn to recognise the early symptoms of an allergic reaction, and know what to do if it happens
» Always carry your prescribed medication.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
There are some less obvious food allergies you should be aware of: Wine: Food allergens such as sulphites and derivatives of egg, fish, milk, and tree nuts may be used in the wine production process. These substances are removed through filtration, but residual amounts may be present in the final product. Vaccines: Some vaccines contain egg protein, including the flu vaccine. If you or your child is allergic to eggs, tell your GP before being vaccinated.
The most common triggers are peanuts, soy and wheat
While you can never totally remove the risk of accidental exposure to your food allergy trigger, a few simple precautions will
dramatically reduce the risk. Contact the restaurant in advance and let them know that you have a food allergy. When you arrive, ask the waiter to let the kitchen staff know so they can take extra care in preparing your meal and reduce the risk of cross contamination. Before starting your meal, touch test a small amount of the food on the outside part of your lip before putting it into your mouth. Warning signs like tingling or swelling, should alert you to a food allergen.
ORAL ALLERGY SYNDROME
Have you ever experienced itchiness in your mouth and throat, sometimes with mild swelling, straight after eating fresh fruit or vegetables? Then you could be suffering from oral allergy syndrome. This is caused by allergy antibodies mistaking certain proteins in fresh fruits, nuts or vegetables for pollen.
WHAT TO DO
The best way to avoid symptoms is to cook fruit and vegetables. Some people with this syndrome may experience more severe symptoms.