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Food allergies are a bane

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About Thomas

I write because I can type. I can type because I have a keyboard.

I am a new age Australian resident that is experiencing this new continent with a fresh set of eyes. 

I write on a wide range of topics. Well, I write on food. There you have it, I write on a wide range of food as well. 

Foods that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.

Have you ever been in a situation where you can only watch your friends and close ones have a dish that you can never ever have due to the illness you feel after eating it? If you have, then according to research, you are one of 2 in 100 who has that problem. They’re called food allergies. But fret not, the number is not small.

An allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction. Image source: Shutterstock.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts by causing symptoms. This is an allergic reaction. Foods that cause allergic reactions are allergens.

There are two categories of food allergies.

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated. Symptoms result from the body’s immune system making antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These IgE antibodies react with a certain food.

Non-IgE mediated. Other parts of the body’s immune system react to a certain food. This reaction causes symptoms but does not involve an IgE antibody. Someone can have both IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated food allergies.

Symptoms range from swelling of the face, lips and/or eyes to difficult/noisy breathing.

Studies have shown that food allergy affects 10% of children up to 1 year of age; between 4-8% of children aged up to 5 years of age and approximately 2% of adults.

Why the rise these days?

Some of the reasons behind the increase in food allergy sufferers could be:

  • Hygiene hypothesis, which proposes the idea that less exposure to infections in early childhood is associated with an increased risk of allergy. A more recent version of the hygiene hypothesis proposes that the makeup and type of the micro-organisms to which the mother, baby and infant is exposed and colonised with may alter their allergy risk.
  • Delayed introduction to allergenic foods such as egg, peanut or tree nuts.
  • Methods of food processing, such as roasted versus boiled peanuts.
  • Development of allergy to food by skin exposure such as the use of unrefined nut oil-based moisturisers.
  • Some of the most common food allergies

    According to Web MD the eight most common allergies are:

  • Milk (mostly in children)
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts, like walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans
  • Soy
  • Wheat and other grains with gluten, including barley, rye, and oats
  • Fish (mostly in adults)
  • Shellfish (mostly in adults)
  • But almost anything can cause or trigger an allergy, including things off of this list.

    Based on this research, there is a clear need for further education about allergies. When you go to a smaller restaurant you never know what the ingredients were in the dish, which can be very dangerous for an allergy sufferer. It’s high time that authorities take action and get restaurants to mention the possible allergens in their dishes. It’s a simple process. To say the least to save our children from the reactions to the growing number of allergies that they face.

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