Guide Adverse Reactions to Food

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Contents

  1. Food Allergy
  2. Adverse food reaction - Wikipedia
  3. Characteristics of food sensitivities
  4. Adverse Reactions to Food: Allergies and Intolerances

Some common symptoms include:. Call if you think someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis , such as:. Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you think the person is having a severe allergic reaction. As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It's these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Most children that have a food allergy will have experienced eczema during infancy.

Read more information about the causes and risk factors for food allergies. Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy. This is known as oral allergy syndrome. Oral allergy syndrome generally doesn't cause severe symptoms, and it's possible to deactivate the allergens by thoroughly cooking any fruit and vegetables.

Food Allergy

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it. Research is currently looking at ways to desensitise some food allergens, such as peanuts and milk, but this is not an established treatment in the NHS. For some foods, such as milk, you may need to speak to a dietitian before making any changes.

Antihistamines can help relieve the symptoms of a mild or moderate allergic reaction. A higher dose of antihistamine is often needed to control acute allergic symptoms.

People with a food allergy are often given a device known as an auto-injector pen, which contains doses of adrenaline that can be used in emergencies. Read more about the treatment of food allergies. If you think you or your child may have a food allergy, it's very important to ask for a professional diagnosis from your GP. They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate. Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn't recommended.

Many kits are based on unsound scientific principles.

Adverse food reaction - Wikipedia

Even if they are reliable, you should have the results looked at by a health professional. Most children who have food allergies to milk, eggs, soya and wheat in early life will grow out of it by the time they start school. Food allergies that develop during adulthood, or persist into adulthood, are likely to be lifelong allergies. Because the allergens in these foods are inactivated on contact with stomach acid, systemic reactions are rarely encountered. The most frightening symptom associated with food allergies is anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock involves the gastrointestinal tract, the skin, the respiratory tract and the cardiovascular system, with symptoms often occurring in combination and developing rapidly.

Severe hypotension can occur and, without proper treatment, death can ensue within minutes of ingestion of the offending food. Only a few people with food allergies are at risk of such serious consequences, but among such people numerous deaths have resulted from inadvertent exposure to the offending food. Overall, more than foods have been documented as causing food allergies. IgE-mediated food allergies affect between 1 and 2 percent of the total population Taylor, Hefle and Munoz-Furlong, Infants and young children are more commonly affected than other age groups.

Among infants under three years of age, the prevalence of food allergies appears to be in the range of 5 to 8 percent Sampson and McCaskill, In some countries, a much higher percentage of the population believes that they have food allergies because of self-diagnosis, parental diagnosis and misconceptions and misdiagnosis by some physicians. Most IgE-mediated food allergies are attributable to a small group of eight foods or food groups, sometimes referred to as "the big eight": cows' milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, soybeans, tree nuts and wheat.

It is estimated that these foods or food groups account for more than 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States. These foods are listed as the most common causes of food allergy worldwide FAO, Several collective terms are used to describe food groups. For the purposes of food allergies, crustaceans include shrimps, prawns, crab, lobster and crayfish.

Characteristics of food sensitivities

Fish refers to all species of finfish, both freshwater and saltwater. Tree nuts comprise almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts and hickory nuts.


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Several additional foods are worth mentioning because, although they cause allergies less frequently, they can cause severe reactions. These foods include molluscan shellfish clams, oysters, etc. The allergens involved in IgE-mediated food allergies are specific naturally occurring proteins that exist in that particular food. Only one or a few of the many proteins found in each of these foods is capable of acting as an allergen.

The prevalence of allergies to specific foods is not precisely known. Cows' milk allergy is most common in infancy and is often outgrown. In several countries, studies indicated that the prevalence of cows' milk allergy among young infants is about 2 percent Hill et al. Recent studies have shown that the prevalence of peanut allergy may be as high as 1 percent in the United States and 0. The prevalence of peanut allergy may be lower among United Kingdom consumers because, until recently, they did not eat peanuts as frequently as North Americans.

However, peanut consumption has risen in the United Kingdom, and peanut allergy also appears to be increasing in prevalence. Although the symptoms of food allergies can be treated with certain drugs, including antihistamines and epinephrine, the only prophylactic approach is the specific-avoidance diet. For example, those who are allergic to peanuts must avoid ingesting peanuts.

However, the construction and implementation of safe and effective avoidance diets is often a challenge. Individuals must avoid all forms of the offending food that contain protein because the allergens are found in the protein fraction. For example, cows' milk-allergic individuals need to avoid all dairy products and most dairy ingredients such as casein and whey. The ingredient statement on the label of packaged foods provides critical information to food-allergic consumers.

Individuals with IgE-mediated allergic reactions to foods experience symptoms on exposure to small amounts of the offending food. The interaction of a small amount of allergen with IgE antibodies on the surface of the mast cell releases massive quantities of mediators, which accounts for the low degree of tolerance. The precise threshold doses for allergenic foods are unknown, exposure to as little as 1 to 2 mg of the offending food will elicit allergic reactions in some sensitive individuals.

The severity of the symptoms is likely to increase as the dose of exposure increases. Despite careful reading of food ingredient statements, food-allergic individuals can suffer allergic reactions as the result of the "hidden" presence of the offending food in the product.

Adverse Reactions to Food: Allergies and Intolerances

The use of the 25 percent rule allows allergenic food components to be present in unlabelled food products at rather significant levels in comparison with the minimal threshold dose for reactions. Occasionally, food ingredients are derived from allergenic source materials that may contain residues of the proteinaceous allergens from those sources.

Furthermore, ingredients are often listed on the ingredient statement under collective terms, and the source of the ingredient is not revealed to the consumer. Examples include flavours, spices, oils, starch and lecithin. These ingredients, even when derived from allergenic sources, do not always contain residues of the allergens. For example, highly refined vegetable oils including peanut and soybean oils, contain extraordinarily low amounts of proteins from the source material and do not elicit allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

The unexpected residues of allergenic foods that occasionally occur in other foods are the result of formulation mistakes, packaging errors, unwise use of rework or inadequate cleaning of shared equipment. Although such errors occur infrequently, they can have serious consequences. Because of the severity of symptoms involved in IgE-mediated food allergies in some individuals and because of the likelihood of adverse reactions from ingestion of trace amounts of these allergenic foods, IgE-mediated food allergies merit the highest degree of attention from regulatory authorities.

Delayed hypersensitivity reactions are mediated by tissue-bound immune cells. The only well described example of a delayed hypersensitivity reaction to foods is celiac disease. Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, occurs in certain individuals following the ingestion of wheat, rye, barley, related grains notably spelt, kamut and triticale and, perhaps, oats. Celiac disease results from an abnormal response of the T lymphocytes in the small intestine to particular proteins gluten from wheat and related proteins from the other grains found in these cereal grains.

An inflammatory process ensues and the absorptive epithelium of the small intestine becomes damaged. The tissue damage is localized to the small intestine but the disruption of the absorptive process affects many other physiological functions. The symptoms of celiac disease are reflective of a malabsorption syndrome and include diarrhoea, bloating, weight loss, anaemia, bone pain, chronic fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps and, in children, growth retardation and failure to gain weight.

Considerable variability exists in the severity of celiac disease among patients with the illness. Some celiac sufferers experience few symptoms and latent, asymptomatic celiac disease has been described, along with concern that the latent illness may progress to the symptomatic illness if not recognized and treated. Symptoms develop from 24 to 72 hours after ingestion of the offending food, because the intestinal damage caused by the inflammatory process takes some time to occur.

The symptoms of celiac disease are likely to persist for some days, even with avoidance of the offending food, because the intestinal damage must be repaired by the body before it can return to normal functioning. Deaths resulting directly from the acute phase of celiac disease have not been reported.

However, patients with celiac disease are 50 to times more likely to develop malignant lymphomas Ferguson, A lifelong avoidance of the offending foods may be necessary to lessen this chronic risk. The prevalence of celiac disease appears to vary among countries.

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Differences may be related, in part, to the method of diagnosis used and the likelihood of recognition of latent celiac disease. In some European countries and regions prevalence of the disease approaches one in persons, while in the United States it appears to be approximately one in 2 to 3 persons Troncone, Greco and Auricchio, ; Kasarda, Celiac disease is an inherited trait that occurs most commonly in European populations and their descendants in other countries.

It rarely occurs in Asian or African populations. The treatment for celiac disease involves the total avoidance of wheat, rye, barley, oats and all products made from these grains. A gluten-free diet results in significant improvement of the intestinal mucosa and its absorptive function.