When it comes to food allergies, to many people are still in the dark.
This life-threatening condition should get more public attention as it could mean sparing a life.
Every 3 minutes someone is sent to the ER as a result of a life-threatening reaction to food according to www.foodallergy.org.
It is more than just a dislike for a food, as a matter of fact, I positively adore nearly every food I am allergic to, but I don't dare eat even the smallest crumb or risk my throat closing up. What exactly are the symptoms of a food allergy? I have written many blog posts and social media posts on this topic before, but I think it bears repeating. In fact I want to flood the internet with articles on how to recognize the symptoms of a food allergy in hopes of saving a life.
The symptoms of a food allergy varies from person to person, but here are the main signs:
Mild to moderate symptoms... (can be one or many of the list below)
Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)
Eczema flare (a persistent dry, itchy rash)
Redness of the skin, particularly around the mouth or eyes
Itchy mouth or ear canal
Nausea or vomiting
Nasal congestion or a runny nose
Slight, dry cough
Severe symptoms may include one or more of the following...
Swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat that blocks breathing
Shortness of breath or wheezing
Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out)
Loss of consciousness
A weak or “thready” pulse
Sense of “impending doom”
Severe symptoms, alone or combined with milder symptoms, may be signs of life-threatening anaphylaxis. This requires immediate treatment.
For some of us, the main symptom is difficulty breathing and feeling faint. Others may be more subtil and persist as IBS, or other digestive disorders. The most important thing is to respond quickly to any sign of a severe reaction!
Here is an example of how one of my reactions can manifest: (This one I am about to describe has actually happened.)
I accidentally consume a "safe" food that was cooked in a pan that was previously used for eggs and not washed properly. My lips start to tingle. My head feels a little dizzy. My asthma kicks in and I feel like it is hard to breathe in. My tongue gets itchy and my throat starts to close up. My blood pressure drops, and I feel disoriented. I can recognize that I am having a reaction, but I may not be capable of thinking through my plan of action, and thus may have to rely on someone else to administer the meds to stop the reaction. All this can progress fast within a few minutes, but for some of my other food allergies, it may take up to 30 minutes for symptoms to peak. This is called anaphylaxis and is a medical emergency treated with epinephrine. (Because of my other health issues including allergies to nearly all prescription and over the counter drugs, I use a natural antihistamine called Quercetin on first sign of an allergic reaction and at times it is sufficient to stop the reaction. This should only be done upon consent of an allergy doctor, as in most cases it is not strong enough to stop the reaction in a normal person. Epinephrine is the safest option for most people.)
Do you know anyone who is dealing with the symptoms of food allergies? Share this post with them and help spread the information. It may save a life, and that life may be of one of your loved ones. Together we will win this war against food allergies by being an advocate for those who suffer on a daily basis with this health problem.
Here's to life!
Have a Happy Healthy, Allergy Friendly Day!
~Gluten Free Em~