How to Know If You Have a Food Allergy

How to Know If You Have a Food Allergy

Feeling terrible after dinner last night?  Want to know if you have a food allergy or if it’s just food poisoning?  There are many differences between food allergies and food poisoning.  Food poisoning is a result of consuming food that was not fully cooked or is otherwise contaminated. When you’re allergic to a specific food, you can’t consume that food no matter how it’s prepared.

Food allergy symptoms are very similar to any other allergic reaction.  Symptoms could appear within 15 minutes after you eat until up to an hour after.  Food allergy symptoms are as follows: itching, swelling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, breathing problems, digestive problems, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.  Hives, eczema, and asthma are also symptoms of food allergies.

If you have swelling of the mouth and throat, you need to seek the immediate attention of a health care professional.  If you have the feeling of being unable to breath as well as a feeling of tightness in your chest, you could be suffering from a severe food allergy, which needs to be treated right away.  This could be potentially fatal.

Common foods that spawn allergies are peanuts, gluten, shellfish, soy, dairy, corn, tomatoes, or eggs.  When preparing foods for a group of people where someone has a food allergy, keep all forms of nuts out of the meals that you’re creating.  Make vegetarian as well as gluten-free versions of everything you create.

Getting tested for food allergies is the safest and most accurate way of knowing if you truly have an allergy or not.  When testing for allergies, there is an intricate process that you must endure, but it doesn’t hurt. There are two main types of tests – one is a skin test where they prick your skin and the other is RAST testing, where they evaluate your blood sample.  Skin testing has been known to be the best.

Skin testing has been used for hundreds of years and is the test of choice worldwide.  Upon starting the test, you will get cut by either getting pricked, scratched, or punctured by a small needle. It barely even bleeds – it’s only enough to allow the allergen to enter the skin.

After you’re scratched with the needle, a combination of chemicals with the allergen included is placed in the microscopic cut.  You wait anywhere from 10-15 minutes in order for your skin to react.  A positive allergy test can be spotted by a red bump that’s itchy – sort of like a bug bite.

If you’re found to have a food allergy, you have to remember to always ask if the food that you’re allergic to is in anything.  Check the labels on any and all products at the grocery store and read the ingredients.

If you have children, also get them tested – food allergies have been known to pass from one generation to another genetically.  Let your child’s teachers know what you’re allergic to as well as what your child is allergic to just to be on the safe side.

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