A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the human body has mistakenly identified as a harmful substance. Once the immune system decides that a particular is harmful to the body, it creates specific antibodies (immunoglobulin E) to defy the perceived enemy. Because of the perceived invasion, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, to protect the body. These chemical trigger a surge of symptoms that can affect the skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, or cardiovascular system.
Causes of food allergy
The immune system reacts to certain proteins found in foods. It treats them as harmful to the body and tries to fight them off by releasing chemicals and histamins. This is what starts the allergic symptoms.
Just about any food can cause an allergic reaction. Most common are milk, allergy to eggs, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and selfish.
People who are at increased risk
- People who have other allergy problems.
- Having family members who have a food allergy
- Young children. Food allergy is more common.
Symptoms of food allergy
Symptoms of food allergies usually occur immediately or within 1 to 2 hours after contact with the food allergen. Some of the common symptoms of an allergic reaction include skin symptoms such as itching, hives, flushing, swelling, eczema etc. gastrointestinal symptoms (tingling and burning of the mouth/ throat, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, abdominal distension, vomiting, etc.), and respiratory symptoms (nasal congestion, sneezing, etc.) . Systemic symptoms mainly include, heart rhythm irregularities ,anaphylaxis , low blood pressure or hypotension etc.
Diagnosis of food allergy
Because the food intolerance and food allergy present very similar symptoms, diagnosing a food allergy involves determining if the reaction is mediated by the immune system. A complete physical examination can rule out the possibility that an underlying physical condition may be causing the symptoms. A detailed case history should be taken with consideration of type and timing of symptoms as well as the suspected offending food. Individuals may be asked to keep a food diary and record all physical symptoms.
Once food allergy is identified as a likely cause of symptoms, conformation of the diagnosis and positive identification of the allergen involve various tests. A prick skin test is a simple test done in case of food allergy. Examiner puts the drop of the substance being tested on the forearm of the patient and pricks it with a needle, which allows a tiny amount of the substance to enter the skin. If the patient is allergic, a small bump will occur at the site in approximately 15 minutes.
The radioallergosorbent test requires a blood sample; laboratory tests are conducted using specific foods to find out the patient has IgE antibodies to those foods.
Physician may also recommend an elimination diet, in which the patient does not eat the food suspected of causing the allergy for a period of about 2 to 4 weeks. If the allergic symptoms improve, a diagnosis can be made
Food allergy treatment with homeopathy
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat food allergy but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available for food allergy treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the food allergy treatment:
Phosphorous, Nux Vomica, Arsenic Album, Pulsatilla, Sulphur, Argentum Nitricum, Colchicum, Calcaria Carb, Calcaria Flour, Ferrum Met, Ledum Pal, Lycopodium, Merc Cor, Berberis Vulgaris, Natrum Mur, Natrum Sulph, Lachesis, Causticum, Carbo Animalis, and many other medicines.