Food allergies are a common problem, especially in children.
Common foods that can trigger allergies include nuts, milk, eggs, and shellfish. Some allergies in children (such as milk and eggs) tend to be outgrown with age, while others (such as nuts and shellfish) tend to persist into adulthood.
What Treatments Are Used for Food Allergies?An allergen is something that triggers an allergic reaction. Currently, the only “treatment” for food allergies is strict avoidance of anything containing the allergen. In the case of accidental ingestion, medications can be used to treat allergy symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include rash (hives), itching, and swelling of the lips and tongue. More severe symptoms can include trouble breathing, wheezing, throat swelling, and nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. A very severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
It is important not to confuse a food allergy with food intolerance. A true food allergy results from an overactive immune system targeting an allergen found in food. Food intolerance, in contrast, is when a person has trouble digesting certain foods. This intolerance can come from a number of factors related to the gastrointestinal tract and the body, but it does not involve the immune system. Symptoms of food intolerance can include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. An example is lactose intolerance.
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