The classical definition of a food allergy says, "An abnormal response to any particular food triggered by body's immune system".
Some common foods that trigger allergic reactions in children and some adults are peanuts, eggs, milk, fish, wheat, and soy.
Apart from these, allergies have been reported with tree nuts, shellfish, fruit, tomato, cucumber, berries, white potato, mustard,
and hundreds of other things.
Cross-reactivity refers to the allergic reaction occurring in food items of the same food group as they are chemically and structurally similar. For example, if a person is allergic to shrimp, fair chances are, he might be allergic to lobsters or crabs as well, because all these fall in the category of “shellfish”. Other Names:
Sometimes a food item is referred with various other names on the labels of food products.
For example, egg can be referred as albumin or peanut can be written as ground nut in a certain ingredient list.
Usually all food allergies present with similar symptoms irrespective of their origin. Broadly they can be classified as mild, moderate, and severe.
Though mild and moderate manifestations can be dealt with symptomatic treatment but the most life threatening and severe symptom can be “anaphylaxis”,
which needs immediate medical attention and support.
Common symptoms to an allergic reaction according to various body systems can be - Skin
: Hives (urticaria), itching, eczema (or atopic dermatitis), redness (erythema) and swelling (edema) Digestive Symptoms:
Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea Respiratory Symptoms
: Itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and wheezing
When someone is aware of their allergic reaction towards a particular food they avoid eating that item.
But sometimes it is cooked with other food this may not be so obvious till the allergy manifests itself.
The most common reason for having an allergic reaction is ingestion of the allergic food item by mistake or unknowingly.
It is unrealistic to keep an eye over every single item on the shelf but people with previous history of any hypersensitivity towards a particular food should always try to have a look at the food labels. If they are eating in a restaurant they should tell the chef’ beforehand regarding their allergy, if they are eating out.