Food allergies have gotten a lot of attention in the last 10 to 15 years. The rise in those suffering from food allergies has caused the media to focus more attention on the various kinds of food allergies but it seems most of the coverage is going to the children. Of course this isn’t a bad thing. Who wants a child to die from an anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter. We do need to consider though that many adults also still suffer from some form of food allergy or food intolerance.
My older sister still suffers from her egg allergy and she is in her mid-40s. She has been allergic to eggs since she was a child. Her reactions can range from a rash to itching in her throat. I happened to be present when she actually got exposed to eggs at a Chinese food restaurant. I innocently asked her to try my steak and tomatoes dish and somehow the sauce either had eggs or had somehow been cooked somewhere where another dish that included eggs was cooked. It was a little scary as she started complaining about her itchy throat. Would it escalate to an anaphylactic reaction? Thankfully it didn’t but I did learn my lesson about offering her my food.
Food allergies are among the most dangerous types of allergies because of the extreme allergic reactions that they can cause. From vomiting, to swollen faces and throats the person not only is suffering but can also be in a life threatening situation. It is the result of the immune system not reacting properly to certain foods, or certain ingredients in foods. The most common food allergies are nuts, milk, and eggs. Some people just feel ill when they consume something they are allergic to. Others experience swelling in the face, and swelling in the body, closing air paths. Hives and rashes are also very common.
The danger in having a food allergy lies not only in the food itself but in how prevalent some ingredients can be. Peanut allergies are challenging because peanut oil can be an ingredient in other foods. The same can be said for those her suffer from gluten allergies since gluten can be found in many foods including bread. Adults can also have allergies to things like beer yeast and the tanins in wine(a headache trigger as well).
The advantage of having adult food allergies is that by now most suffers have learned to manage their symptoms or to avoid the foods and ingredients that cause them. Some adults though may have been silent sufferers for many years without identifying that some of their health problems were actually the result of adult food allergies.
The key is to keep a food journal if you suspect you are experiencing some sort of allergic reaction to a food. You are probably better off consulting with your doctor to start. There are differences between food allergies and other intolerances like lactose intolerance which is sometimes confused with a milk allergy. Though there are no current cures for food allergies allergists can help devise a plan to either avoid the foods and ingredients involved or even implement food challenge plans to minimize your reaction to the food if you can’t totally avoid them.