Food sensitivity and allergies can differ from person to person, not just in terms of the symptoms that you experience but also how severe these may be. If you think you’re suffering from food allergies it can make a big difference to get diagnosed so that you have the tools to manage your experience with allergies and to avoid the potential for an extreme allergic reaction.
How do allergies work?
A food allergy happens when you eat something that your body identifies as an allergen. Your immune system will then respond, which is why you’ll experience certain symptoms if you have food allergies. The severity of these symptoms tends to vary from person to person but they can be dangerous, which is why it’s so essential to get help with food allergies if you think you have them. Any food could potentially cause a reaction in someone in theory. However, 90% of the food allergies that exist today are linked to the following foods: wheat, eggs, peanuts, milk, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soya beans and nuts.
What are the signs of food allergies?
Although they tend to be different in everyone there are some common signs to look out for if you think you might have food allergies.
- Feeling a change in your body every time you eat a specific food. This could happen within a few minutes or it may be hours later.
- Irritation type symptoms, including a burning sensation around the mouth, hives and skin rashes, red watery eyes and a tingly sensation in the ears.
- A full body reaction, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea or vomiting.
- Symptoms that can feel a bit like a seasonal cold, such as a dry cough and a runny nose.
What about anaphylaxis?
If you have a severe allergic reaction then you may go into anaphylaxis. This usually starts with intense itching in the eyes and face and can then progress to more serious reactions, including shortness of breath, hives, wheezing, vomiting, chest tightness, confusion and swelling. There are also life threatening symptoms such as a rapid and weak pulse, low blood pressure and unconsciousness. An epinephrine auto injector can be life saving in this situation to avoid a coma or death.
Diagnosing food allergies
If you’ve noticed you’re experiencing some allergic symptoms when eating specific foods then getting diagnosed is essential. Your ENT specialist will ask about your family history and whether anyone else has any food allergies. You may also be asked to keep a food diary and may need to answer questions about your symptoms, where the food you eat comes from and whether you eat it cooked or raw. There are also various tests that can be carried out, including a skin prick test and blood tests.
Not all food allergies will be severe - but some can be. That’s why it’s so important to speak to a specialist if you’re experiencing this and to make sure you know what to do if an allergic reaction occurs.
The Harley Street ENT clinic can provide a variety of treatments to tackle voice loss and throat problems. Contact us today to request an appointment.