What is a food allergy and how do you determine if you have one? This article will discuss what a food allergy is and how they are often misdiagnosed. We will also cover what foods are the most common causes of these types of allergies and how best to determine the offending food. If you suspect that you do have one it is important to contact a physician immediately.
Food allergies occurs at all ages, but are of most concern in children. Almost any food can produce an allergic response. But it must be remembered that allergies are not the only cause of chronic digestive upsets. For example, some children are born lacking an important digestive enzyme, known as lactase, which is important to digest sugars present in milk. Other children lose the ability to produce lactase after the age of 3 or 4. Many adults also have a deficiency in lactase. The absence of lactase can produce many symptoms that can be confused with a having allergy including diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting after drinking milk. This is only one example of a digestive problem that can be mistakenly diagnosed as a food allergy.
Symptoms of food allergies can include hives, skin rashes, swelling of the mouth and lips, vomiting, asthma, diarrhea, runny nose and many other problems. The best approach for detecting an allergy and the food that is the cause is by process of elimination. If your lips swell after eating a strawberry, it is probably a safe bet that you are allergic.
One of the most common food allergies in small children is cow's milk. Since almost any symptom can be blamed on an allergy, and since infants consume so much milk, it is pretty obvious why this diagnosis is often made.
Other foods that have been associated with allergic reactions in children include wheat, eggs, citrus fruits, beef and veal, fish and nuts. Severe reactions to any of these foods are very rare in children. Parents do not need to be afraid to introduction new foods to their children. Families that do have a strong history of allergies can introduce one new food to an infant every few days so that if an allergy does develop, the cause is obvious.
If you feel you or a family member have a food allergy or may be gluten intolerant you should consult your physician immediately. There are many accurate tests to determine if you do in fact have one.