Food allergies: symptoms. How does food allergy manifest than to treat?
Food allergies are called an increased sensitivity of the body to certain products. About 20% of the population have this problem. The disease today is much more common than half a century ago. Environmental pollution, the use of pesticides, many chemicals that we face in everyday life - all this leads to an increase in the number of people who are diagnosed with "food allergies." Symptoms develop over a period of several minutes to an hour, and can be of varying intensity - from itching in the mouth to anaphylactic shock. An allergic reaction occurs after a person has eaten even a small amount of an allergen product, inhaled it, or simply had contact with it.
True food allergy in adults is not a frequent occurrence. The main cause of this disease are hereditary factors.People who believe that they have food allergies, in most cases, the so-called food pseudo-allergy. Despite the fact that its signs are similar to those of a true food allergy, the cause of this condition is food intolerance - a reaction with a completely different mechanism. In addition, the development of psychosomatic reactions to food is possible, because a person considers it an allergen.
Consider the most famous and common types of food allergies.
Cow Milk Allergy
So called reaction to the main protein components of milk, which are whey or casein. This type of allergy affects children more often: about 2.5% of babies cannot drink milk. It is necessary to show caution to parents, in whose families there are cases of the disease among the closest relatives. The best way to protect your baby from allergies to milk in the first years of life is to breastfeed.
How does food allergy to milk manifest in a child? The most famous symptoms are vomiting after feeding, colic, gas, anxiety of the baby. Sometimes the appearance of dry skin, itching, rash, atopic dermatitis.
Usually, children with cow's milk allergy are sensitive to the milk of other animals, so it should be offered with caution.
In 85% of children, the disease goes by the age of 5. But it should be remembered that the baby, which has a reaction to milk, may have other types of allergies. In addition, there is a risk of allergic rhinitis in the future.
Since dairy products contain calcium, which is necessary for bones and teeth, without which the normal functioning of many body systems is impossible, it is necessary to look for its other sources. Useful of dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish, orange juice, dried figs and prunes.
This type of food allergies are also mostly children. An allergic response can be caused by consuming protein, yolk, or both. An allergy provoking product can be not only chicken eggs, but also goose, duck, and in rare cases quail eggs. The disease also passes to the age of five.
About 0.3% of children suffer from this form, but they outgrow it at an early age.This product does not cause reactions which would carry danger to life. This type of allergy is often found in children who react to dairy products. If the food in a child is artificial or mixed, it is desirable to select special mixtures with protein hydrolyzate for him.
Wheat can provoke various reactions in children and adults. There are two types of reactions. In the first case, immediately after eating a food allergy occurs, the symptoms of which manifest themselves in the form of urticaria or difficulty breathing.
The second type of reaction is called celiac disease, or gluten intolerance (this is a protein found in cereals). For some time the disease proceeds hidden. There may be abdominal pain, diarrhea, nervousness. Children do not gain weight well and grow slowly. The disease usually begins to appear after the introduction of croup in the diet, but sometimes the signs are so minor that the diagnosis is confirmed only in adolescence.
About 0.6% of people of different ages suffer from this form of food allergy. The disease can be severe, even life threatening. Only 20% of children can outgrow it, which is why it is most common in adults.Those who are allergic to peanuts should carefully study the composition of the products and, just in case, always carry a syringe-tube with adrenaline.
This type of disease can also be life threatening and does not go away with age. In addition, cross-reaction often occurs: if you are allergic to one type of nut, you will most likely be allergic to other species.
Allergy to seafood
The reaction to them can be very severe, even fatal. This food allergy generally does not pass with age, therefore it is very common among adults. And although an allergic reaction to one type of mollusks does not necessarily mean that an allergy can occur to another variety, it is advisable to refrain from using them at all. This also applies to different varieties of fish.
Symptoms occur in early childhood, but an adult is not immune from this disease. Allergies to tangerines, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits can have symptoms such as enterocolitis, runny nose, tearing and redness of the eyes, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, swelling of the bronchi, urticaria, and itching.
Allergy to tangerines and other citrus fruits in children, in which it manifests with enterocolitis and dermatitis, is especially hard tolerated. The child is tormented by intolerable itching, he is combing the skin, losing his appetite and sleep.
Causes of Allergies in Children
In the case when one of the parents is allergic, the child is twice as likely to develop the pathology as compared to those whose parents did not suffer from this disease. In the presence of the disease in both parents, the risk is doubled. In this case, food allergies in children may be caused by other products than their parents.
The occurrence of allergic reactions in a child can be triggered by errors in the diet of a woman during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, it is desirable to try to eliminate from the diet foods that cause allergies. In addition, an early transition to artificial feeding, nutrition that does not match the age of the baby, gastrointestinal tract disease, liver and biliary tract can provoke the development of the disease.
Causes of Allergies in Adults
These are diseases in which the normal digestive process and intestinal function are disturbed.In addition, various immunodeficiency states provoke the occurrence of allergic reactions, since this causes dysbacteriosis, which is another cause of allergy.
As a result of indiscriminate, too frequent or rare nutrition, gastric secretion is disturbed, gastritis and other disorders develop, which contribute to the formation of food allergies.
How does the disease manifest itself?
In the case of such a disease as food allergies, symptoms can occur both a few minutes after a meal, and a few hours or even days after contact with the allergen. Among the most common symptoms can be noted the occurrence of urticaria, anaphylactic reactions, rhinitis, dermatitis, asthma, vascular edema.
In case of a delayed allergic reaction, symptoms appear gradually, over several days after taking the allergen. Possible muscle pain, depression, inflammation of the joints, headaches, vascular spasms, impaired urinary function, constipation, vision problems, etc. The most frequent manifestations of the disease from the gastrointestinal tract is the occurrence of vomiting, colic, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
From the earliest symptoms of true food allergy, you can distinguish itching in the mouth, numbness of the tongue, swelling of the oral mucosa.
Skin manifestations of allergies are most common. This applies to both adults and children. Of the most characteristic skin reactions, the occurrence of urticaria, atopic dermatitis, can be noted. Food allergies in children are manifested by persistent diaper rash, even with careful skin care, dermatitis and itching that appear after feeding.
Skin reactions can be localized in any zone, but most often they occur in the facial area, and then spread over the entire surface of the skin. At the initial stage of the disease, it is still possible to notice a clear link between skin reactions and the use of an allergen product. Over time, these reactions become persistent, often relapses occur, and this makes it difficult to determine the cause of such a disease as food allergy. How does the skin of a person with this diagnosis, can be seen in the photo.
On the part of the respiratory system is possible the manifestation of allergy in the form of cough, nasal discharge, sneezing, difficulty breathing, nasal congestion.Similar symptoms occur after consuming milk, vegetables, fruits, wheat, eggs.
Less common problems with the gastrointestinal tract. Stool may be disrupted, abdominal pain, vomiting occurs. Milk, fish, cereals, meat products, eggs provoke such a reaction.
Life threatening condition - anaphylactic shock. This is a rare phenomenon that accompanies severe itching, urticaria, sweating, edema of the pharyngeal mucosa, difficulty breathing and low blood pressure. This reaction progresses rapidly, so if a person is not helped, a loss of consciousness or even death is possible.
In order to confirm the diagnosis and identify the products that cause allergies, an elimination diet is prescribed, the essence of which is to exclude one of the suspected allergens, until the symptoms disappear. After their disappearance, the patient is offered to again include in the diet a suspicious product and watch if the allergic reaction returns.
For the diagnosis of this pathology is used and scarification test. It lies indoors on the skin surface of the diluted extract of the intended allergen. Pre-make scratches or punctures on the skin.In the absence of any reaction, the test is considered negative. The occurrence of redness and swelling indicates the possibility of allergy to this product. However, the result is not always reliable.
More accurate data can be expected from radioallergosorbent test (PACT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), antibody research. Although in this case a false positive result is possible.
The most reliable way to diagnose this disease are provocative tests. But when they are carried out, there is a danger of developing a severe systemic reaction; therefore, the procedure should be carried out in a hospital.
Before conducting such tests, a two-week diet is prescribed, which involves the elimination of possible food allergens. The study is conducted on an empty stomach. A person swallows a few milligrams of the intended food allergen encapsulated. After that, he is monitored for 24 hours, the patient's complaints, the condition of the skin and mucous membranes are recorded, the pressure and heart rate are measured. If during this time there were no signs of food allergies, the test is repeated after a day, increasing the dose of the allergen.Continue the research until the amount of the injected substance reaches 8000 mg. If the reaction does not occur in this case either, testing is stopped and it is considered that this product is not a food allergen for this person.
For small children, a food allergen is added to food, as they are not yet able to swallow the capsule. The test is carried out in the same way as for adults; only the dose of the substance administered is different.
Prior to the onset of signs of allergy, it usually takes about 12 hours after the introduction of the allergen product. Do not conduct tests with those products, the use of which can cause severe systemic reactions.
Unfortunately, tests are not always informative. There is often a false positive result, which can be explained by a tendency to allergies, which may not be.
Allergic tests are carried out at any age, but in children under one year the results are unreliable. In the case when it is known exactly which product causes allergies, it is not necessary to carry out tests, it is enough to exclude the allergen from the diet.
The disease is treated with the use of exclusion or elimination diets.How to cure allergies in this way and what kind of diet is needed?
Nonspecific diet is usually prescribed at the beginning of the study in order to reduce the food load, as well as in the case when there is no possibility of conducting a specific allergological study. In this case, all products that are likely to cause an allergic reaction are excluded from the diet, and the use of suspicious foods is limited. In addition, you can not eat foods containing preservatives, dyes and emulsifiers.
The second version of the diet involves the elimination from the diet of all products that are associated with the development of food allergies. For example, when a person has a reaction to milk, a non-dairy diet is prescribed. This completely excludes milk and dairy products. In addition, you need to carefully study the composition of the product, because it may contain milk proteins.
If you are allergic to cereals, it is necessary to exclude from the ration of bread, bran, semolina, pasta, baking, etc.
If you are allergic to eggs, you should not eat foods that contain egg white (scrambled eggs, pastries, marshmallows, sausages).It is necessary to carefully study the composition. The presence in the list of ingredients of lecithin, albumin, ovomucin, vitellin, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, ovomucoid is a reason to refuse to use such a product, since these are all components of egg protein.
Properly chosen diet for allergies can be cured in a period from a week to a month. For those who are sick for no more than three years, the symptoms disappear in 5-7 days. The sooner treatment is started, the faster the condition stabilizes.
Of course, avoiding allergen products is the best way to treat a disease such as food allergies. How to treat if the fulfillment of this condition is impossible? With a diagnosis of food allergies, the symptoms help eliminate the medication.
With minor manifestations of the disease, antihistamines are prescribed, such as "Erius", "Claritin", "Telfast", "Loratadin", etc. In allergic reactions that threaten life, use sorbents (for example, Enterosgel) to speed up the elimination of allergens, that got into the body.
For the treatment of anaphylactic shock, epinephrine is used, which is injected subcutaneously. If necessary, re-administer the drug every 15 minutes.The patient is placed in intensive care for further treatment. Mandatory appointment of glucocorticoids ("Prednisolone", "Dexamethasone"). The drugs are administered for at least 3 days. When angioedema, diuretics are also prescribed.
Allergy cream is used to treat skin manifestations. In reactions of mild to moderate severity, non-hormonal ointments (“Fenistil”, “Skincap”, “Bepanten”) are used, which relieve itching, inflammation and swelling. Hormonal ("Hydrocortisone", "Prednisolone", "Elokom", etc.) are necessary for moderate and severe allergies. Using hormone cream for allergies, you must be extremely careful, as it has many side effects.
A child with food allergies needs careful care. It is important to remember that in the acute form of an allergy, an anaphylactic reaction can occur even from a small amount of the allergen. It is worth taking care that the child always carries with him medicines and a medical bracelet. If the baby has been diagnosed with “food allergies,” treatment also includes drug therapy. Children, as well as adults, are prescribed antihistamines, which reduce itching, swelling and redness of the skin.
Folk remedies for food allergies
Traditional medicine has a lot of answers to the question of how to cure allergies. An excellent tool is the eggshell. It is necessary to boil an egg, peel, dry the shell. After that, it is crushed and mixed with lemon juice. By consuming this medicine daily, you can feel relief after just a few tricks. Full recovery occurs after several months.
With the diagnosis of food allergies, rashes and itching are eliminated with healing baths with nettle, wormwood, burdock, birch leaves, spruce needles and dandelion.
Enough to take bran. Brewed boiled bran consumed on an empty stomach in the morning. Within a few minutes, the allergic rhinitis stops. In addition, this tool helps the removal of harmful substances from the body, contributes to the regulation of the intestine.
Another simple method - taking nettle. Dry raw material is poured boiling water, infused for several hours. You need to use half a glass several times a day. After about three weeks, manifestations of such a state as food allergies completely disappear.Treatment, if necessary, can be continued.