Intolerances and allergies are used interchangeably by people when it comes to food, however, both are different. An intolerance is due to your body’s inability to produce the enzymes needed to break down the food, such as in the case of lactose intolerance. A food allergy is your body producing an immune response and releasing histamines to fight the food which your body mistakenly considers a harmful invader.
Adults and children alike can have food allergies. Approximately 90 percent of food allergies are caused by less than ten different types of food. Here’s a list of the most common food allergies that affect adults and children. If you notice a skin, digestive, or respiratory reaction to any of them, see an allergist for testing and a diagnosis.
A milk allergy is not an intolerance. Those with a milk allergy react to the casein found in milk, not the lactose. Consuming food products that contain milk can produce a reaction, such as diarrhea, hives, or difficulty breathing. Milk allergies usually affect kids more than adults.
Kids and adults alike can be allergic to either the yolk of an egg or the egg white. In rare cases, eggs can cause anaphylactic shock. If you are severely allergic to eggs, it’s important to read food labels carefully to ensure you don’t eat anything that contains it.
Nuts are a common allergen. Those with a severe nut allergy may even have a reaction if they eat food manufactured in a facility that also processes nut products. Nuts are a common allergen that can cause fatal anaphylactic shock. However, not all nut allergies are life-threatening. Some allergens, such as almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts can trigger an allergic response that includes swelling, hives, and stomach cramps.
Adults and children allergic to wheat are usually allergic to gluten, a type of protein naturally found in wheat, oats, rye, and barley. Symptoms of a wheat allergy vary from skin rashes to tongue swelling to stomach cramps.
An allergic reaction to soy may produce symptoms such as rashes, a stuffy nose, or stomach pain. Soy is probably the trickiest allergen to avoid since it is used in many food products, from baked goods to fast food to dressings.
Crabs, lobster and crayfish allergies can range from swelling of the eyes, mouth, and hands to difficulty breathing. In severe cases, patients can also go into anaphylactic shock.
Managing Food Allergies
There is currently no cure for food allergies. However, medication can help control the reaction once you are exposed to an allergen. For patients with severe and potentially life-threatening reactions, allergists usually prescribe an emergency kit containing epinephrine shots.
Oral immunotherapy is a type of treatment that desensitizes the immune system to many allergens. This way, the body’s reaction is less severe to the allergen over time. Oral immunotherapy does not work for all types of allergens or every patient. Talk to your allergist about whether it’s the right treatment for you or your child.
Allergists For Pediatric and Adult Patients in Will County & DuPage County, IL
Finding out what you or your child are allergic to can save lives. At Oak Brook Allergists, we provide food allergy testing for our patients as a first step to developing a comprehensive and effective allergy management plan.
To schedule a consultation, call Oak Brook Allergists at (630) 574-0460 or request an appointment today. We look forward to serving you in any of our four locations in Northeastern Illinois.