A food allergy is an adverse reaction to specific types of food. This condition is caused by an overactive immunity that mistakes certain foods for pathogens.
The immune system protects the body from infections and pathogens. And sometimes, the immune system could mistake harmless compounds as pathogens. When this occurs, the immune system releases histamines that attack the irritant. The release of histamines causes a variety of symptoms associated with an allergic reaction: rashes, itchy eyes, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, hives, difficulty in breathing, etc.
Food allergy is sometimes fatal. As such, identifying and eliminating all triggers from your diet is the best way to avoid an allergic response. In today’s post, we are listing down some of the most common treatments and remedies for food allergy.
Food allergy is treated by administering histamine-blocking drugs. For mild allergic reaction, you can take over-the-counter antihistamines or prescription antihistamines to relieve symptoms. These drugs can be taken to relieve itchiness or hives. However, OTC meds are not potent enough to treat severe reactions to food such as anaphylaxis (tightening and closing of the throat, rapid heartbeat, loss of consciousness, plummeting blood pressure), asthma symptoms and shock.
For severe allergic reactions, a trip to the emergency room and a shot of epinephrine is critical. You see, once the body goes through anaphylactic shock, the throat shuts down and this may lead to death if not treated right away. If you have a severe food allergy, always keep an epinephrine auto-injector handy at all times. The injection will administer a single dose of medication when pressed against the thigh.
This therapy involves administering a drug called omalizumab. This drug has the ability to interfere with the body’s ability to use IgE, reducing asthma-like symptoms caused by food allergies. However, anti-IgE therapy remains in the experimental phase. More research and clinical tests are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of this therapy.
Oral Immunotherapy or OIT
The concept of OIT is exposing the patient repeatedly to the allergy triggers to reduce the immune system’s reaction to it. The therapy involves swallowing a small piece of food that triggers an allergic reaction. This triggers an allergic response that gradually decreases over time.
How to Prevent Food Allergies
Identify All Triggers and Avoid at All Cost
If you know what types of foods you are allergic to, eliminate them from your diet. Simply put, eliminating triggers is the best way to avoid an allergic reaction. If you don’t know what foods you are allergic to, observe how you react to certain foods. If you get a reaction, jog your memory of foods you ate throughout the day. Cross check and you will identify the culprit.
As mentioned earlier in this post, you need to keep a shot of epinephrine auto-injector on your person wherever you go. The same thing goes if your child is severely allergic to certain foods. Epinephrine shots are prescribed by a physician.
Medical Alert Bracelet
Always wear a medical bracelet if you have severe food allergies. In case of a severe allergic reaction, the bracelet will provide all the information your rescuers need to save your life. Never leave home without a medical bracelet.