During an allergic reaction, the immune system responds to a normally harmless substance as if it were a threat. In some people, common foods such as milk, eggs, and peanuts can trigger such a reaction. So how does this work? If you have a food allergy, your immune system makes a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E or IgE. This class of antibody binds to immune cells called mast cells and basophils that circulate throughout your body When you are exposed to the food allergen, it attaches to the IgE antibodies. This binding signals the immune cells to release histamine and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, such as swelling of the lips, hives, and shortness of breath. Because mast cells and basophils rapidly release these chemicals, an allergic reaction typically occurs within 30 minutes after exposure.

No cure for food allergy?

food allergy

The most severe kind of reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, trouble breathing, dizziness, and possibly death. People with food allergy and poorly controlled asthma are more susceptible to severe reactions. An anaphylactic episode must be treated with a hormone called epinephrine, which maintains blood pressure and opens up the airways. To deal with accidental exposure, people diagnosed with food allergy are prescribed a medical device called an autoinjector that delivers a single dose of epinephrine into the thigh muscle. Antihistamines alone are not an effective treatment for anaphylaxis. There is no cure for food allergy. The best way to manage the condition is to avoid the allergenic food, read food labels carefully, wash hands and household surfaces, and always carry an epinephrine autoinjector. If you are accidentally exposed to a food allergen, seek medical help immediately.

Help from institutions – NIAID

he National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, conducts and supports research to better understand, prevent, and treat food allergy. In 2010 an expert panel sponsored by NIAID issued guidelines to assist healthcare professionals in diagnosing and managing the disease. These guidelines and a summary for patients, families, and caregivers can be found on the NIAID website. In food allergies, it has been commonly found that most of the issues related to food and allergies originate within a few hours of ingestion of the substance, some may react quickly and start reading within a few minutes of ingestion. Although rare, some food-related allergies can be majorly delayed for more than six hours, especially in the cases of children who are suffering for eczema, where these children develop blisters and sometimes the skin becomes very irritating with red patches and cracks and itchy surface.

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Although these food allergies cannot be cured, they sure can be prevented. As per the American Academy of Paediatrics, feeding all kinds of completely solid food products to infants smaller than three months might increase the possibility of developing an allergy. Breastfeeding for at least six months is important for any child as it provides the child with essential elements and nutrients which will help it grow and develop the immune system.


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