Food allergy

Allergy to food

A food allergy is type of immune response triggered by eggs, peanuts, milk, or some other specific food.

myPlate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's newest food guide, called MyPlate, encourages consumers to make healthier food choices. The guide encourages you to eat less and avoid oversized portions. Half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. At least half of your grains should be whole grains. You also should switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is an acute systemic (whole body) type of allergic reaction which occurs when a person has become sensitized to a certain substance or allergen and is again exposed to the allergen. Some drugs, such as those used for pain relief or for X-rays, may cause an anaphylactoid reaction on first exposure. Histamines and other substances released into the bloodstream cause blood vessels to dilate and tissues to swell. Anaphylaxis may be life-threatening if obstruction of the airway occurs, if blood pressure drops, or if heart arrhythmias occur.

Food allergies

The body's immune system normally reacts to the presence of toxins, bacteria or viruses by producing a chemical reaction to fight these invaders. However, sometimes the immune system reacts to ordinarily benign substances such as food or pollen, to which it has become sensitive. This overreaction can cause symptoms from the mild (hives) to the severe (anaphylactic shock) upon subsequent exposure to the substance. An actual food allergy, as opposed to simple intolerance due to the lack of digesting enzymes, is indicated by the production of antibodies to the food allergen, and by the release of histamines and other chemicals into the blood.

Read food labels

Allergic reactions to a certain food can include diffuse hives, hoarse voice, wheezing, and, in severe reactions, low blood pressure and closing down of the windpipe. Medications such as antihistamines and skin creams may provide some relief from itching and rashes, but the best way to prevent future allergic reactions is to avoid the offending food in the first place. Reading the labels contained on most products is a useful way to find a certain food that a person may want to avoid.

Dermatitis, perioral

Dermatitis around the mouth (perioral) is most common in young to middle age women. Frequently, no specific cause is found. However, there appears to be an association with fluorinated steroids. In children, dermatitis around the mouth may be associated with irritation from specific foods or other materials carried to the face on the hands.

Antibodies

Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention