What is Food Allergy?
The job of the body’s immune system is to identify and destroy germs that make you sick. A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein – an allergen – as a threat and attacks it.
Unlike other types of food disorders, such as intolerances, food allergies are “IgE mediated.” This means that your immune system produces abnormally large amounts of an antibody called immunoglobulin E — IgE for short. IgE antibodies fight the “enemy” food allergens by releasing histamine and other chemicals, which trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
An allergic reaction to food can affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, and, in the most serious cases, the cardiovascular system. Reactions can range from mild to severe, including the potentially life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis.
Food allergy can cause digestive problems such as stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting in adults as well as in children. Food allergy is a growing, serious public health problem that affects both adults and children. Today, a wide range of foods has been reported to cause food allergies, and there has been a true rise in the prevalence of food allergies.
With food allergies, knowing what to avoid will not only help you or your child feel better today, but it may also help in avoiding more serious food allergy symptoms in the future.
Testing for food allergies
There are dangers to leaving allergies untreated. Allergies may have serious implications on your quality of life. That does not mean that they should rule your life.
Many people misdiagnose themselves when it comes to allergies. This is because the symptoms often overlap with other diseases. The concern is that when these conditions are misdiagnosed, they are not treated appropriately – which is hardly ideal and could lead to unnecessary medication and incorrect treatment.
This is why it’s so important to consult your doctor if you think you might have an allergy. Based on a physical examination, your case history and the blood test, the doctor will be able to make a proper diagnosis. A blood test will measure the presence of IgE antibodies in the blood to specific foods. Adults and children of any age can take a blood test and it can be performed irrespective of skin condition, medication, symptom, disease activity and pregnancy.
The test results will help you and your doctor customize a treatment approach that’s right for you. Reducing exposure to one or more of your allergic triggers can help reduce your symptoms and your need for medication.
Speak to your doctor about an allergy blood test.
Treat the cause, not the symptoms.
Visit http://info.thermoscientific.com/SouthAfricaAllergyReport to download your free Allergy e-book