There are many different kinds of food allergies – in fact; it is possible to be allergic to almost any kind of food. A food allergy is caused by your body mistakenly identifying a certain kind of food as a threat. One food allergy in particular that is very common is peanut allergy, but allergies to soya, eggs, milk and wheat are also prevalent. It can be hard to recognise whether you are suffering from food intolerance or from an allergy, because the symptoms can be similar. Food intolerance can occur when the body fails to produce a sufficient quantity of a particular enzyme needed to break down a food and aid digestion. For example if a person suffers wind and bloating every time they consume milk or milk products they may be suffering from lactose intolerance, a condition caused by lack of the lactose-digesting enzyme lactase. Allergy tends to be more serious and will usually respond to taking antihistamine, whereas food intolerance will not.
Symptoms of a food allergy
Symptoms of a food allergy will differ greatly depending on the severity of the allergy. If the allergy is mild, you may notice a slight burning or itching sensation in your throat when eating certain foods. It is possible to have a histamine reaction from a food allergy, which can include a runny nose, sore or itchy eyes, and a rash on the skin. A more serious allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock, where the throat can close up and make it very difficult to breathe. A shot of adrenaline e.g. Epipen will be administered in these cases to counteract the effects.
Treatments for food allergies
It can be hard to regularly treat a food allergy. Taking an antihistamine when you notice a reaction will help, as will avoiding eating certain types of foods and keeping an eye on food labels to check that food hasn't been in contact with allergens.