What Causes Food Allergies

Food allergies are a reaction by the immune system’s eosinophils, which are proteins that are activated in a histamine reaction. They are reacting to any foreign proteins, in other words they recognize particular food as foreign bodies to combat against. Certain vaccines are still egg-based such as the Influenza vaccines and the Yellow Fever vaccine.

One theory is that these egg based vaccines and the fact that they work based on soliciting a response from the body is just a theory and not based in evidence. Another theory is that a young infant’s immune system is not ready to handle food proteins and so starts to attack them.

One prevention according to the American Academy of Pediatrics is to breastfeed for at least 4 months in an attempt to prevent atopic dermatitis, cow milk allergy, and wheezing in early childhood. Some pediatrician try to prevent allergies by asking moms to introduce new foods one at a time and only after 6 months of age, especially in infants with siblings or parents with food allergies. These infants with a family history of food allergies are deemed as being high-risk for food allergies.

Treatment

The best way to treat food allergies is to do your best to avoid eating the food that you have been determined to be allergic to. This is not always possible as sometimes food is hidden in items that you would not otherwise guess would have the food item. This is why reading food labels is so important.

In avoiding food allergens it is imperative that food preparations procedures also be scrutinized to be sure that cross contaminating is not occurring. This can happen when the same utensils are used in different foods.

At home is not the only time to avoid what foods you are allergic to, you also need to be diligent in school situation, party situations, in social gatherings, family dinners and when eating out at restaurants or at other peoples homes. It is important to inform the host/hostess of your food allergies before the dinner party, or other social gathering where food will be prepared. Call ahead to restaurants and inform the manager or chef that you will be dining there and have food allergies.

Emergencies

An emergency treatment kit should be carried on the person of anyone with food allergies especially if they have ever had a severe reaction to the food. These kits contain an auto injector of epinephrine which is a medication used to treat allergic reactions. The auto injector is called an Epipen or Twinject. If a severe reaction has occurred it is possible that two doses may be required.

There are no allergy desensitization or allergy “shots” available for individuals with food allergies. There are desensitization or allergy “shots” for other allergens like outdoor and indoor allergens.

Emergency care is needed immediately for anyone having a severe allergic reaction.

There are studies being conducted to manufacture genetic engineered vaccines that may be available for individuals with food allergies in about ten years.

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