SHA Magazine Healthy nutrition
These Are the Symptoms and Treatments for Food Allergies
Knowing the symptoms associated with adverse reactions to food is the first step to finding the most appropriate treatment.
The number of people suffering adverse reactions caused by food intake has increased exponentially in recent decades. As Raquel Soriano, internist and family doctor at SHA Wellness Clinic, explains, ‘While the prevalence of other allergic diseases, such as asthma, has stabilised, the prevalence of food allergies has increased. In fact, although we still need more epidemiological studies on the subject, it is estimated that in Spain they have risen by 7.4%’.
Knowing the symptoms associated with food allergies is essential to detect the problem and therefore be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment that allows us to recover an optimal state of health and well-being. As Raquel says, ‘This point is very important because many allergies are diagnosed in children and both they and their families need to know the symptoms in order to understand what is happening. Unlike intolerances, which cause more non-specific symptoms, allergic reactions manifest themselves in a short time, i.e., the symptoms appear immediately after exposure to the allergen. The most common symptoms are:
–Digestive. They usually appear as soon as the food is ingested, in the form of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhoea, and can range from mild to severe depending on the susceptibility of the person.
–Cutaneous. These are caused by coming into contact with certain foods. For example, there are people who are not allergic to peaches, but are allergic to their skin, and when they touch them, they suffer swelling of the lips or face, hives, redness, and itching.
–Respiratory. These are caused by the vapours given off by the food during cooking and are similar to the symptoms of seasonal allergy: rhinitis, runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing and, in the most serious cases, anaphylaxis, which can even lead to cardiorespiratory arrest’.
Once an allergy has been diagnosed, the first step is to eliminate the offending food from the diet. As the doctor explains, ‘To deal with cow’s milk protein allergy, oral immunotherapy is used, which consists of administering progressively increased amounts of milk until the body builds up a tolerance. What’s more, there are very interesting, though not definitive, studies that show that good digestive health can be an effective tool in preventing food allergies. An unhealthy lifestyle, the day of birth, indiscriminate use of antibiotics, or excessive hygiene, among other factors, can lead to dysbiosis (imbalance) in the gastrointestinal microbiota, which may be one of the reasons for the increase in allergic diseases. Restoration of the microbiota through the use of prebiotics and probiotics represents an opportunity for the prevention and management of these diseases given their mechanism of action, mainly at the level of the immune system. In addition, other treatments are currently being investigated and studied with very promising results. One example is monoclonal antibodies, such as omalizumab, which is being used as an adjuvant in the treatment of oral immunotherapy’.
If you want to know more about food allergies caused by dairy products, Click here