Food allergies are the unusual response of the body’s immune system to certain food items. Here in the Philippines, the common food allergy triggers include cow’s milk, nuts, soy, and seafood, to name a few. While allergic responses are generally minor, some reactions can cause more long-term harm when ignored.
What are food allergic responses?
Allergic responses or reactions can manifest within minutes or up to days from consumption of the food item or substance. Common responses include itching of the mouth, throat, skin, and eyes, sometimes also with inflammation.
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain can also be allergic responses. Anaphylaxis the most severe of the responses, is characterized usually by airways restriction leading to respiratory difficulties. In extreme situations, throat swelling may obstruct the airway and can even be fatal.
Can allergic development be prevented?
Somewhat. Early introduction to the common food allergens can decrease the possibility of development of the allergic response. This can make the immune system accustomed to the food or substance that it doesn’t see it as a threat.
Since allergies can run in families, (biological) family medical history is important. Note what allergic reactions happen when eating certain food items before introducing them to your child. If you experience severe reactions on a certain food, ask for professional advice before introducing it to your child. This applies even if you intended to introduce small portions as it might still trigger a severe reaction.
If not prevented, how can we manage food allergies?
It’s important to be mindful of what we consume, but especially when we’re allergic to it. This means paying attention to what we buy and how they are produced. Familiarize yourself with alternate names used in packaging of the food item or by-products of the food item. Read the labels of what you buy to check if the allergens are present.
It’s also important to note that manufacturers may use the same processors for their items and cross-contamination may occur. For example, some Oishi chips have shrimp, so even their non-shrimp flavored chips may still be contaminated with shrimp substance.
It’s a lot better to prepare your own food or be more proactive in asking how things are mass-produced. This is to ensure that you’re eating safely.