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Allergies – Symptoms – NHS

Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually develop within a few minutes of being exposed to something you’re allergic to, although occasionally they can develop gradually over a few hours.

Although allergic reactions can be a nuisance and hamper your normal activities, most are mild.

Very occasionally, a severe reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.

Main allergy symptoms

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
  • itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
  • a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
  • swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
  • tummy pain, feeling sick, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • dry, red and cracked skin

Itchy, red, watering eyes

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Raised, itchy, red rash (hives)

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The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.

For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you have a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.

See your GP if you or your child might have had an allergic reaction to something. They can help determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.

Read more about diagnosing allergies.

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Page last reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

Food allergy – Symptoms and causes

Overview

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3 and up to 3 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older.

It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.

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Symptoms

For some people, an allergic reaction to a particular food may be uncomfortable but not severe. For other people, an allergic food reaction can be frightening and even life-threatening. Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food.

The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Anaphylaxis

In some people, a food allergy can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, including:

  • Constriction and tightening of the airways
  • A swollen throat or the sensation of a lump in your throat that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, anaphylaxis can cause a coma or even death.

When to see a doctor

See a doctor or allergist if you have food allergy symptoms shortly after eating. If possible, see your doctor when the allergic reaction is occurring. This will help your doctor make a diagnosis.

Seek emergency treatment if you develop any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:

  • Constriction of airways that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Causes

When you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food or a substance in food as something harmful. In respose, your immune system triggers cells to release an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize the allergy-causing food or food substance (the allergen).

The next time you eat even the smallest amount of that food, IgE antibodies sense it and signal your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, as well as other chemicals, into your bloodstream. These chemicals cause allergy symptoms.

In adults, the majority of food allergies are triggered by certain proteins in:
  • Shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster and crab
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts, such as walnuts and pecans
  • Fish
In children, food allergies are commonly triggered by proteins in:
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Eggs
  • Cow’s milk
  • Wheat
  • Soy
Pollen-food allergy syndrome

Also known as oral allergy syndrome, pollen-food allergy syndrome affects many people who have hay fever. In this condition, certain fresh fruits and vegetables or nuts and spices can trigger an allergic reaction that causes the mouth to tingle or itch. In serious cases, the reaction results in swelling of the throat or even anaphylaxis.

Proteins in certain fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices cause the reaction because they’re similar to allergy-causing proteins found in certain pollens. This is an example of cross-reactivity.

When you cook foods that trigger pollen-food allergy syndrome, your symptoms may be less severe.

This following table shows the specific fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices that can cause pollen-food allergy syndrome in people who are allergic to different pollens.

If you are allergic to: Birch pollen Ragweed pollen Grasses Mugwort pollen
You may also have a reaction to: Almond
Apple
Apricot
Carrot
Celery
Cherry
Hazelnut
Peach
Peanut
Pear
Plum
Raw potatoes
Soybean
Some herbs and spices (anise, caraway, coriander, fennel, parsley)
Bananas
Cucumber
Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon)
Zucchini
Cucumber
Kiwi
Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon)
Orange
Peanut
Tomatoes
White potato
Zucchini
Apples
Bell pepper
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Cauliflower
Garlic
Onion
Peach
Some herbs and spices (anise, black pepper, caraway seed, coriander, fennel, mustard, parsley)
Exercise-induced food allergy

Eating certain foods may cause some people to feel itchy and lightheaded soon after starting to exercise. Serious cases may even involve hives or anaphylaxis. Not eating for a couple of hours before exercising and avoiding certain foods may help prevent this problem.

Food intolerance and other reactions

A food intolerance or a reaction to another substance you ate may cause the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy does — such as nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea.

Depending on the type of food intolerance you have, you may be able to eat small amounts of problem foods without a reaction. By contrast, if you have a true food allergy, even a tiny amount of food may trigger an allergic reaction.

One of the tricky aspects of diagnosing food intolerance is that some people are sensitive not to the food itself but to a substance or ingredient used in the preparation of the food.

Common conditions that can cause symptoms mistaken for a food allergy include:

  • Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food. You may not have adequate amounts of some enzymes needed to digest certain foods. Insufficient quantities of the enzyme lactase, for example, reduce your ability to digest lactose, the main sugar in milk products. Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea and excess gas.
  • Food poisoning. Sometimes food poisoning can mimic an allergic reaction. Bacteria in spoiled tuna and other fish also can make a toxin that triggers harmful reactions.
  • Sensitivity to food additives. Some people have digestive reactions and other symptoms after eating certain food additives. For example, sulfites used to preserve dried fruit, canned goods and wine can trigger asthma attacks in sensitive people.
  • Histamine toxicity. Certain fish, such as tuna or mackerel, that are not refrigerated properly and that contain high amounts of bacteria may also contain high levels of histamine that trigger symptoms similar to those of food allergy. Rather than an allergic reaction, this is known as histamine toxicity or scombroid poisoning.
  • Celiac disease. While celiac disease is sometimes referred to as a gluten allergy, it does not result in anaphylaxis. Like a food allergy, it does involve an immune system response, but it’s a unique reaction that’s more complex than a simple food allergy.

    This chronic digestive condition is triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in bread, pasta, cookies, and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye.

    If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs that causes damage to the surface of your small intestine, leading to an inability to absorb certain nutrients.

Risk factors

Food allergy risk factors include:

  • Family history. You’re at increased risk of food allergies if asthma, eczema, hives or allergies such as hay fever are common in your family.
  • Other allergies. If you’re already allergic to one food, you may be at increased risk of becoming allergic to another. Similarly, if you have other types of allergic reactions, such as hay fever or eczema, your risk of having a food allergy is greater.
  • Age. Food allergies are more common in children, especially toddlers and infants. As you grow older, your digestive system matures and your body is less likely to absorb food or food components that trigger allergies.

    Fortunately, children typically outgrow allergies to milk, soy, wheat and eggs. Severe allergies and allergies to nuts and shellfish are more likely to be lifelong.

  • Asthma. Asthma and food allergy commonly occur together. When they do, both food allergy and asthma symptoms are more likely to be severe.

Factors that may increase your risk of developing an anaphylactic reaction include:

  • Having a history of asthma
  • Being a teenager or younger
  • Delaying use of epinephrine to treat your food allergy symptoms
  • Not having hives or other skin symptoms

Complications

Complications of food allergy can include:

  • Anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening allergic reaction.
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Food allergy may cause a skin reaction, such as eczema.

Prevention

Early introduction of peanut products has been associated with a lower risk of peanut allergy. Before introducing allergenic foods, talk with your child’s doctor about the best time to offer them.

However, once food allergy has already developed, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to know and avoid foods that cause signs and symptoms. For some people, this is a mere inconvenience, but others find it a greater hardship. Also, some foods — when used as ingredients in certain dishes — may be well-hidden. This is especially true in restaurants and in other social settings.

If you know you have a food allergy, follow these steps:

  • Know what you’re eating and drinking. Be sure to read food labels carefully.
  • If you have already had a severe reaction, wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that lets others know that you have a food allergy in case you have a reaction and you’re unable to communicate.
  • Talk with your doctor about prescribing emergency epinephrine. You may need to carry an epinephrine autoinjector (Adrenaclick, EpiPen) if you’re at risk of a severe allergic reaction.
  • Be careful at restaurants. Be certain your server or chef is aware that you absolutely can’t eat the food you’re allergic to, and you need to be completely certain that the meal you order doesn’t contain it. Also, make sure food isn’t prepared on surfaces or in pans that contained any of the food you’re allergic to.

    Don’t be reluctant to make your needs known. Restaurant staff members are usually more than happy to help when they clearly understand your request.

  • Plan meals and snacks before leaving home. If necessary, take a cooler packed with allergen-free foods when you travel or go to an event. If you or your child can’t have the cake or dessert at a party, bring an approved special treat so no one feels left out of the celebration.

If your child has a food allergy, take these precautions to ensure his or her safety:

  • Notify key people that your child has a food allergy. Talk with child care providers, school personnel, parents of your child’s friends and other adults who regularly interact with your child. Emphasize that an allergic reaction can be life-threatening and requires immediate action. Make sure that your child also knows to ask for help right away if he or she reacts to food.
  • Explain food allergy symptoms. Teach the adults who spend time with your child how to recognize signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.
  • Write an action plan. Your plan should describe how to care for your child when he or she has an allergic reaction to food. Provide a copy of the plan to your child’s school nurse and others who care for and supervise your child.
  • Have your child wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. This alert lists your child’s allergy symptoms and explains how others can provide first aid in an emergency.


Nov. 02, 2019

What to Do When You Have an Allergic Reaction – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Pollen, dust, animal dander, nuts, shellfish and other foods — these can all cause an allergic reaction in susceptible people.

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The symptoms range from being mildly uncomfortable and annoying to serious and life-threatening. So it’s good to know what to do if you or someone you’re with has an allergic reaction.

You may need to act quickly.

Here, allergist and immunologist Bela Faltay, MD, answers common questions about allergic reactions and how to handle them:

1.

What happens during an allergic reaction?

When you eat, breathe in or touch something you’re allergic to, your immune system produces histamines to deal with the bothersome substance (allergen).

This immune response can cause several symptoms, including:

  • Itching
  • A rash
  • Hives (large, pink bumps or swollen areas)
  • Sneezing and watery eyes
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat
  • Rapid or difficult breathing

2. What should you do for throat swelling and difficulty breathing?

Call 911 immediately for medical help. Sometimes severe allergic reactions that cause you to struggle for breath can also create a sense of impending doom, says Dr. Faltay.

If the person who’s having an allergic reaction stops talking and simply stares, that’s a red flag as well.

“Calling 911 is better than driving to the emergency department,” he says. “Emergency medical technicians in an ambulance have protocols and access to treatments specifically for severe allergic reactions.

3. What can you do to relieve itching, redness or a rash?

Wash the area with mild soap and lukewarm water. Apply hydrocortisone cream or lotion. Calamine lotion and cool compresses may also bring relief.

If you know what’s causing the reaction, stop using the product or wearing the item. Take off makeup or earrings if they’re the cause.

If you’re allergic to poison ivy, sumac or oak and have been exposed, wash clothing and other items that may have the irritant (an oily sap called urushiol) on them.

If your itchiness is severe, if your rash doesn’t go away, or if you see signs of infection, call your doctor.

4. What’s the best way to treat itching, sneezing and watery eyes?

When you have multiple allergic symptoms, an over-the-counter antihistamine such as loratadine (Claritin®) can treat them.

Dr. Faltay advises against using products that have a sedative effect, such as Benadryl®.

5. What should you do when hives develop?

The hives will subside in time. Meanwhile, it helps to apply cool compresses, to avoid hot showers and bath water, to wear loose clothing and to sleep in a cool room.

Be sure to work with your doctor to identify what’s triggering your hives.

6. Can allergies occur unexpectedly?

Yes. It’s important to know that some allergies are linked to others.

For example, if you’re allergic to latex, it’s possible that you’ll also react to avocados, kiwifruit and other tropical fruit. And if you’re allergic to birch pollen, it’s possible that you’ll react to apples or peaches as well.

It’s important to note that what seems like a food allergy can sometimes be food intolerance instead, notes Dr. Faltay.

7. What if you don’t know what’s causing your reaction?

Follow up with your doctor and ask about allergy testing, he advises. Testing can help pinpoint the cause of your reaction, and help you avoid triggers and future reactions.

Medications and Drug Allergic Reactions

Everyone reacts to medications differently. One person may develop a rash while taking a certain medication, while another person on the same drug may have no adverse reaction. Does that mean the person with the rash has an allergy to that drug?

All medications have the potential to cause side effects, but only about 5 to 10% of adverse reactions to drugs are allergic.

Whether allergic or not, reactions to medications can range from mild to life-threatening.

It is important to take all medications exactly as your physician prescribes. Call your doctor if you have side effects that concern you, or you suspect a drug allergy has occurred. If your symptoms are severe, seek medical help immediately.

Allergic Reactions

Allergy symptoms are the result of a chain reaction that starts in the immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to a particular medication, your immune system identifies that drug as an invader or allergen. Your immune system may react to medications in several ways. One type of immune reaction is due to production of antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to the drug. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, triggering an immediate allergic reaction. This reaction causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin and usually occurs within minutes to a few hours of taking the drug.

The most common immune response to a drug is due to the expansion of T cells, a type of white blood cell that recognize the drug as foreign. These T cells orchestrate a delayed immune response that most often affects the skin, causing itchy rashes, and occurs days to weeks after exposure to the drug.

Most allergic reactions occur within hours to two weeks after taking the medication and most people react to medications to which they have been exposed in the past. This process is called “sensitization.” However, rashes may develop up to six weeks after starting certain types of medications.

The most severe form of immediate allergic reactions is anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis). Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hives, facial or throat swelling, wheezing, light-headedness, vomiting and shock.

Most anaphylactic reactions occur within one hour of taking a medication or receiving an injection of the medication, but sometimes the reaction may start several hours later. Anaphylaxis can result in death, so it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

Antibiotics are the most common culprit of anaphylaxis, but more recently, chemotherapy drugs and monoclonal antibodies have also been shown to induce anaphylaxis.

The most severe form of delayed drug reactions not only cause rashes but may also involve other organs including the liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart. Blisters may be a sign of serious drug reactions called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), where the surfaces of your eye, lips, mouth and genital region may be eroded.

You should seek medical help immediately if you experience any of these. Many medications can cause these severe delayed reactions including antibiotics, medications for epilepsy (seizures), depression and gout.

However, not all drug allergic reactions involve a specific immune reaction. Some people experience flushing, itching or a drop in blood pressure from intravenous dyes used in x-rays or CT scans. If you take angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for high blood pressure, you may develop a cough or facial and tongue swelling.

In addition, some people are sensitive to aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). One type of aspirin or NSAID sensitivity may cause a stuffy nose, wheezing and difficulty breathing. This is most common in adults with asthma and in people with nasal polyps (benign growths). Other reactions to NSAIDs can result in hives or in rare instances, severe reactions can result in shock.

A number of factors influence your chances of having an adverse reaction to a medication. These include: genetics, body chemistry, frequent drug exposure or the presence of an underlying disease. Also, having an allergy to one drug predisposes an individual to have an allergy to another unrelated drug. Contrary to popular myth, a family history of a reaction to a specific drug typically does not increase your chance of reacting to the same drug.

Non-Allergic Reactions

Non-allergic reactions are much more common than drug allergic reactions. These reactions are usually predictable based on the properties of the drugs involved. Symptoms of non-allergic drug reactions vary, depending on the type of medication. People being treated with chemotherapy often suffer from vomiting and hair loss. Certain antibiotics irritate the intestines, which can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Taking Precautions

It is important to tell your physician about any adverse reaction you experience while taking a medication. Be sure to keep a list of any drugs you are currently taking and make special note if you have had past reactions to specific medications. Share this list with your physician and discuss whether you should be avoiding any particular drugs or if you should be wearing a special bracelet that alerts people to your allergy.

When to See an Allergist / Immunologist

If you have a history of reactions to different medications, or if you have a serious reaction to a drug, an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, has specialized training to diagnose the problem and help you develop a plan to protect you in the future.

Healthy Tips

• Allergic drug reactions account for 5 to 10% of all adverse drug reactions. Any drug has the potential to cause an allergic reaction.

• Symptoms of adverse drug reactions include cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.

• Skin reactions (i.e. rashes, itching) are the most common form of allergic drug reaction.

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, monoclonal antibodies, anti-seizure drugs and ACE inhibitors are frequent causes of allergic drug reactions.

• Contrary to popular myth, a family history of a reaction to a specific drug typically does not increase your chance of reacting to the same drug.

• If you have a serious adverse reaction, it is important to contact your physician immediately.

 

The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.

This article has been reviewed by Andrew Moore, MD, FAAAAI

Reviewed: 9/28/20

What is Anaphylaxis? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Anaphylaxis: Severe Allergic Reactions

Nearly one in 50 Americans are at risk for anaphylaxis

Some children are allergic to certain foods, medicines, insects and latex. When they come into contact with these things they develop symptoms, such as hives and shortness of breath. This is known as an allergic reaction. Things that cause an allergic reaction are called allergens. Take all allergic symptoms seriously because both mild and severe symptoms can lead to a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis).

Be Aware of Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

The symptoms of anaphylaxis may occur shortly after having contact with an allergen and can get worse quickly. You can’t predict how your child will react to a certain allergen from one time to the next. Both the types of symptoms and how serious they are can change. So, it’s important for you to be prepared for all allergic reactions, especially anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis must be treated right away to provide the best chance for improvement and prevent serious, potentially life-threatening complications.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis usually involve more than one part of the body such as the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, heart, gut, and brain. Some symptoms include:

  • Skin rashes and itching and hives
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing (whistling sound during breathing)
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Feeling like something awful is about to happen

Your child’s doctor will give you a complete list of symptoms.

Be Prepared for Anaphylaxis

Keep an Emergency Plan with You

You, your child, and others who supervise or care for your child need to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to treat it. Your child’s doctor will give you a written step-by-step plan on what to do in an emergency. The plan is called an allergy emergency care plan or anaphylaxis emergency action plan. To be prepared, you, your child, and others who care for your child need to have copies of this plan.

About Epinephrine

Epinephrine is the only medicine that will stop anaphylaxis. The emergency action plan tells you when and how to give epinephrine. You cannot rely on antihistamines to treat anaphylaxis.

Know How to Use Epinephrine

Learn how to give your child epinephrine. Epinephrine is safe and comes in an easy-to-use device called an auto-injector. When you press it against your child’s outer thigh, it injects a single dose of medicine. Your child’s health care team will show you how to use it. You, in turn, can teach people who spend time with your child how to use it.

Always have two epinephrine auto-injectors near your child. Do not store epinephrine in your car or other places where it will get too hot or too cold. Discard if the liquid is not clear, and replace it when it expires.

Common Causes of Anaphylaxis

Foods. The most common food allergies are eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. The most common food allergies in infants and children are eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and wheat.

Insect stings from bees, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants.

Latex found in things such as balloons, rubber bands, hospital gloves.

Medicines, especially penicillin, sulfa drugs, insulin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Know How to Treat Anaphylaxis

  1. Follow the steps in your child’s emergency care plan to give your child epinephrine right away. This can save your child’s life.
  2. After giving epinephrine, always call 911 or a local ambulance service. Tell them that your child is having a serious allergic reaction and may need more epinephrine.
  3. Your child needs to be taken to a hospital by ambulance. Medical staff will watch your child closely for further reactions and treat him or her if needed.

After Anaphylaxis

  • Sometimes, a reaction is followed by a second, more severe, reaction known as a biphasic reaction. This second reaction can occur within 4 to 8 hours of the first reaction or even later. That’s why people should be watched in the emergency room for several hours after anaphylaxis.
  • Make a follow up appointment or an appointment with an allergy specialist to further diagnose and treat the allergy.

Take Steps to Avoid Anaphylaxis

The best way to avoid anaphylaxis is for your child to stay away from allergens. Teach your child about his or her allergy in an age-appropriate way. Teach your child to tell an adult about a reaction, how to avoid allergens and how and when to use an epinephrine auto-injector. Here are some first steps you can take for each type of allergy:

Food. Learn how to read food labels and avoid cross-contact. Read the label every time you buy a product, even if you’ve used it before. Ingredients in any given product may change.

Insect allergies. Wear closed-toe shoes and insect repellent when outdoors. Avoid loose-fitting clothing that can trap an insect between the clothing and the skin.

Medicine allergies. Tell your doctor about medicines your child is allergic to. Know both the generic and brand names of the medicines.

Latex allergies. Tell your doctors, dentists and other health care providers about your child’s latex allergy. Ask them to put a note in your child’s medical chart about your child’s allergy. Also remind them of the allergy before any medical procedure or test.

For all allergies:  Educate family, friends, the school and others who will be with your child about your child’s allergies. They can help your child avoid allergens and assist if anaphylaxis occurs.

Reviewed by medical advisors June 2014.

Serious Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) (for Parents)

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Reaction signs and symptoms – Food Allergy Canada

Quick Facts

  • Do not ignore early symptoms.
  • Always take a possible reaction seriously and act quickly.
  • Not every reaction will always look the same; a person can have different symptoms each time.
  • Anaphylaxis can occur without skin symptoms or hives.
  • A child may describe their symptoms differently than an adult: for example “my throat is tingly” or “my tongue feels scratchy”.

An allergic reaction usually happens within minutes after being exposed to an allergen, but sometimes it can take place several hours after exposure.

Symptoms and severity of a reaction can differ each time. Keep in mind that an allergic reaction can start with mild symptoms that can get worse quickly.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis generally include two or more of the following body systems:

  • Skin: hives, swelling (face, lips, tongue), itching, warmth, redness
  • Respiratory (breathing): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny itchy nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing
  • Gastrointestinal (stomach): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Cardiovascular (heart): paler than normal skin colour/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizziness or lightheadedness, shock
  • Other: anxiety, sense of doom (the feeling that something bad is about to happen), headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste

However, a drop in blood pressure without other symptoms may also indicate anaphylaxis. It is important to know that anaphylaxis can occur without hives.

Symptoms in babies up to 2 years of age may be indicated by a noticeable change in the sound of their cry, drooling, spitting up of food or drink after feeding, and the uncontrolled passing of stool or urine. They may show behavioural changes such as irritability, unexpectedly become very sleepy or difficult to wake up, suddenly appear very frightened, upset emotionally, and/or want to be held or comforted.*

*Simons FER, Sampson HA. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2015.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about how to recognize anaphylaxis.

The most dangerous symptoms of an allergic reaction are:

  • Trouble breathing caused by swelling of the airways (including a severe asthma attack for people who have asthma).
  • A drop in blood pressure causing dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint or weak, or passing out.

Both can lead to death if untreated.

Remember

  • It is not possible to predict the severity of an allergic reaction.
  • Don’t ignore early symptoms, even if they seem mild, especially if you have had a reaction in the past.

Tips for parents

Small children can have a hard time describing their symptoms. They may complain of a “funny feeling” in their mouth or throat. Or, they may say things like “my mouth feels funny” or “my tongue is itchy”.


Next, visit our Treating reactions page to learn how to treat allergic reactions.

90,000 what is it and how is it done

An allergy test is one of the most informative tests to confirm an allergic reaction and identify an allergen. What are they, when are they assigned and how are the tests done? Find out from this material.

In many ways, the success of the treatment of allergic diseases depends on whether it was possible to exclude the effect on the body of the substance that causes the allergy. To achieve this, it is important to know exactly which allergen the patient is sensitive to.This can be determined by an allergy test. At the same time, there are several types of such tests, which, and it is important to remember, can cause an allergy attack, therefore they are performed only in a clinic under the supervision of an allergist.

Skin tests

One of the most popular and widespread methods. Skin allergy tests are done only for those patients who, at the time of the study, are not in an exacerbation stage. During the procedure, a substance that can potentially cause an allergic reaction is injected through the skin, and then the effect is monitored.In this case, standardized allergens are used, dissolved in water and obtained from grass and tree pollen, house dust, and so on. If swelling, redness appears, then experts assess the severity of the changes and conclude about the presence and severity of allergies.

It is important to remember that if the test result is positive, this does not mean that a particular allergen was the cause of the allergic reaction. The allergy could very well be caused by some other substance that was not introduced during the study 1 .

Diseases for which allergy tests are prohibited:

  • Exacerbation of a chronic disease (for example, peptic ulcer, hypertension, rheumatism, etc.)

  • Acute infectious process

  • Tuberculosis in the acute stage

  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding

  • Severe allergic reaction in the past (primarily anaphylactic shock)

In addition, skin tests are not recommended for young children (under 3 years of age), patients receiving glucocorticosteroid therapy, antiallergic drugs (H1-histamine receptor blockers) 2 .

The main types of skin tests

There are several types of skin tests that differ in indications, technique and methods of evaluating the results.

Application, or patchwork 3

They are prescribed to determine the sensitivity to various allergens in patients with contact dermatitis. During the study, a piece of clean tissue is impregnated with an allergen solution and applied to areas of healthy skin (on the abdomen, forearm, back).And the result of the allergy test is assessed three times – after 20 minutes, after a few hours (usually 5-6) and 2-3 days after the test.

Scarification 3

These tests are carried out in cases where the doctor suspects a type I allergic reaction (the so-called reaginic reaction) in the patient. Its feature is the formation of an immediate response to the action of an allergen. During this analysis, solutions of various, most common allergens are applied to the skin of the forearm at a short distance from each other.Near the site of application, using a scarifier needle, they damage the outer layer of the skin, making sure that the blood vessels remain intact. Taking into account the indications for this test, its results are assessed within 15 minutes.

Intradermal test 1

This test is done in case of suspicion of allergy to various bacteria, fungi. In addition, intradermal tests may be prescribed to determine how sensitive a person is to substances of non-infectious origin. During such a study, a potential allergen is not applied externally, but is injected directly into the skin, which makes it possible to more accurately determine whether the patient has an allergic reaction.Given the fact that intradermal tests can be accompanied by the development of an allergy attack, the assessment is carried out 15-20 minutes after the injection of the solution. And tests are carried out only in clinics under the supervision of a doctor 1.3 .

Evaluating the results of skin tests, the doctor describes their severity with the help of pluses: no reaction – 0 pluses, a pronounced reaction – 4 pluses. The conclusion about the intensity of the allergic reaction is made on the basis of the size of the diameter of the inflammatory papule 1 .

Provocative tests

Another common method for diagnosing an allergic reaction is provocative analysis. In contrast to the skin, with the provocative method, the allergen is injected into the organ, which primarily suffers from allergies. The provocative tests differ depending on the area of ​​administration of the allergen 1 .

Conjunctival test

Its purpose is allergic conjunctivitis. In this case, he himself is injected into the space between the eyeball and the lower eyelid.A positive result is evidenced by the appearance of lacrimation, conjunctival edema, itching.

Nasal test

This type of provocative allergy test is aimed at identifying allergic rhinitis. Therefore, the solution is injected into one nasal passage. And, in the case of the development of itching, sneezing, nasal congestion due to edema of the nasal mucosa, it is judged about its positive outcome.

Inhalation test

This test is prescribed for those who have bronchial asthma in remission.The allergen solution is injected into the respiratory tract using an inhaler. And the result is evaluated according to the spirogram data, which is recorded after the introduction of each solution.

Cold and heat tests

The purpose of these tests is cold and heat urticaria, that is, an allergy to cold or heat. In a cold test, a container of ice is placed on the skin for a few minutes. For heat, a container with water heated to 40 degrees is placed for 10 minutes. In both cases, the presence of an allergy will be indicated by the formation of a blister.

Leukocytopenic and thrombocytopenic tests

This pair is prescribed as part of diagnostic measures for allergies to drugs and food. After the introduction of allergens, the patients undergo a blood test and determine the number of leukocytes and platelets. Allergy is indicated by a decrease in the number of leukocytes (more than 109 / l) and platelets (by 25% and more).

Laboratory diagnostic methods

In some cases, laboratory methods – that is, blood tests – become important for establishing a diagnosis.

Indications for prescribing blood tests for allergies 1.3 :

  • Contraindications to skin tests

  • Age under 3 years

  • Severe allergic reaction at the time of examination

  • Chronic acute disease that proceeds without remission

  • Inability to cancel antiallergic drugs and some other conditions during the study.

All laboratory methods can confirm that the patient is sensitive to any substance. However, this does not indicate the inevitable development of an allergic reaction to this substance, since this requires not only an allergen and high sensitivity to it, but also some other conditions 1 .

When choosing an allergy test method that suits you, always listen to the opinion of the attending physician and do not allow self-medication – these methods require an attentive and thoughtful approach, which is possible only in a good clinic or hospital.And, of course, be healthy!

10 questions about allergies from the European Medical Center

The head of the Clinic of Dermatovenereology and Allergology-Immunology,

answers the questions

dermatovenerologist, candidate of medical sciences Eva Aleksandrovna Vasilevskaya

My personal, more than 15 years of medical experience, is complemented by the invaluable experience of my patients who have experienced the disease themselves.Therefore, I decided to build advice and recommendations aimed at the treatment and prevention of the most common diseases within my competence in the form of answers to the questions that my patients most often ask.

WHAT IS AN ALLERGY?

Various ailments arising after contact with environmental factors (food, pollen of plants, pets and dust, chemical compounds, the sun and cold air, in fact everything that surrounds us) have been known for a long time.Even Hippocrates described the appearance of skin rashes and itching after drinking milk. These conditions are called allergies.

However, there is also a scientific definition of allergy. This is a state of increased sensitivity of the body to various environmental factors, which develops with disorders of the immune system.

The prevalence of this disease is extremely high. According to the World Health Organization, at least one case of an allergic reaction has been registered in more than 85% of the world’s population!

WHAT COULD CAUSE AN ALLERGY?

  • Food can cause two different conditions: food allergies and food intolerances;

  • Medicines: most commonly aspirin, antibiotics, sulfonamides and cardiovascular drugs;

  • Infections and parasitic diseases;

  • Inhalation allergens: plant pollen, fungal spores, secretions, saliva and animal hair, house dust and micro-mites, aerosols and volatile chemical compounds;

  • Stress and increased psycho-emotional stress;

  • Physical factors: friction, compression, vibration, low and high temperatures, ultraviolet radiation, water and much more.

What is the difference between “FOOD ALLERGY” and “FOOD INTOLERANCE”?

With food intolerance, unlike food allergies, there are no changes in the immune system, and the reasons for the development of intolerance reactions are often associated with the presence of various concomitant diseases in a person, in particular, gastrointestinal, liver, nervous and endocrine systems. In addition, food allergy persists throughout a person’s life, and food intolerance can disappear after the causes that caused it are eliminated.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES?

Allergy manifestations are diverse in form, location, severity and prognosis. The most severe manifestation of allergy is anaphylactic shock, which can develop in a few minutes and manifests itself in the form of a sharp drop in blood pressure, suffocation, convulsions, edema, and loss of consciousness.

Allergies can also manifest as respiratory symptoms such as allergic rhinitis, laryngitis, bronchitis and bronchial asthma.

A large number of allergy manifestations is taken over by the skin, and starting from a very early age. Constant diaper rash in babies, even with the most careful care, rashes and itching of the skin at a later age, constant or seasonal cracks and peeling on the palms and feet, swelling and “sticking” on the lips, dry skin and mucous membranes, persistent stomatitis.

Allergy often manifests itself as symptoms of the stomach and intestines, which patients take for “food poisoning” – vomiting, colic, lack of appetite, constipation or, on the contrary, frequent loose stools, flatulence, itching in the mouth or throat.

WHAT FACTORS PROMOTE ALLERGY FORMATION?

  • Hereditary predisposition;

  • Maternal malnutrition during pregnancy and lactation, abuse of certain products with a pronounced allergenic activity: caviar, seafood, nuts, milk, chocolate and coffee;

  • Early transfer of a child to artificial feeding;

  • Indiscriminate and inappropriate nutrition, abuse of canned and fermented foods;

  • Parasitic diseases: worms, lamblia, yersiniosis and others;

  • Frequent or prolonged use of antibiotics, especially of the penicillin type;

  • Cold humid climate;

  • Constant contact with fungi, microorganisms, mold, dust;

  • Work in hazardous production.

WHICH FOOD ALERGIES ARE FREQUENTLY CAUSED?

Food allergies can develop after ingestion of almost any food, but there are foods that are more active. Such products include: fish, especially seafood, seafood (oysters, crustaceans, shellfish), nuts (especially hazelnuts and peanuts), eggs, milk, stone fruits (apricots, cherries, red apples), nightshade vegetables (eggplants, tomatoes), some food grains (wheat, oats).Often the cause of allergy is not the product itself, but various chemical additives – flavor enhancers and substitutes, as well as preservatives that ensure shelf life. The most common food colors include tartrazine, which provides an orange-yellow color to the product, for example in ketchup; sodium nitrite, which preserves the deep red color of meat products, sausages and sausages. Food additives also include enzymes, thickeners, bacteriostatic agents, and antioxidants.

In addition, an allergic reaction can develop after eating foods rich in biologically active substances histamine and tyramine: Roquefort, Camembert, Dorblue and the like, spinach and sauerkraut, dried sausage, liver, avocado and caviar.

WHAT TREATMENT METHODS ARE USED FOR ALLERGIES?

For the treatment of true ALLERGY, specific and non-specific methods of therapy are used. Non-specific methods are aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the developed disease and at preventing exacerbations.In view of the essential role of the inflammatory mediator HISTAMINE in the development of an allergic reaction, antihistamines are given a special place in the treatment of the disease. Every year, immune methods for the treatment and prevention of allergies are acquiring more and more importance, aimed not at eliminating symptoms, but at interrupting the immune mechanisms of predisposition and the development of allergic reactions.

Specific methods include elimination (elimination) of the allergen and specific desensitization, the so-called “allergy vaccination”.This method consists in the introduction into the patient’s body in the form of subcutaneous injections and sublingual (under the tongue) drops of increasing doses of causative allergens with the formation of “strong immunity” to them. More than 20 years of experience with this method has significantly improved the quality of life of many allergy sufferers.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET RID OF ALLERGY COMPLETELY?

Unfortunately, modern medicine cannot yet offer a reliable and safe method to completely get rid of allergies.However, correct and timely examination and treatment can significantly reduce the manifestations of this disease, as well as prevent its transition to a more severe form.

HOW TO FIND OUT IF I HAVE A PREDISPOSITION TO ALLERGY?

It’s very simple. It is enough to take a blood test. No special preparation is required for this study. The main thing during this period is not to take medications aimed at suppressing immune reactions: antihistamines, glucocorticosteroids, antibacterials and sedatives.If a blood test shows the doctor that you have an increase in some immune parameters and specific sensitization, you need to be examined further. For this, “skin tests” are carried out – the introduction of micro doses of the most common allergens into the upper layers of the skin. It is also necessary to conduct spirography – a special respiratory test to detect signs of allergic bronchitis and asthma.

IS IT POSSIBLE DURING AN EXAMINATION TO IDENTIFY ALL THE FACTORS CAUSING ALLEGRY?

While the predisposition to allergies is easy to establish, it is sometimes difficult to identify all provoking factors.When conducting a blood test, sensitization (sensitivity) to a number of food and inhalation factors can be detected. Skin tests can further expand the list of allergens. Next, a search for “cross-allergens” is carried out. Cross-allergic reactions occur when eating foods that have similar chemical structures to plants, microorganisms, or household substances. For example, in case of allergy to fungi-microorganisms (household mold), an allergic reaction can develop when eating kefir, kvass, champagne, sauerkraut or fresh yeast bread, since all these products have common antigenic structures characteristic of fungi.However, it should be remembered that being allergic to a substance belonging to a particular family does not mean that the allergy will develop to all components of that family. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a doctor who will help determine the presence of allergies to specific substances.

The situation is more complicated with the physical factors of allergies, which cause solar or cold urticaria, asthma, dermographism, vibration forms of allergy and others. Often, specific examinations are carried out to identify such forms of allergy.

Thus, in order to understand whether you have an allergy, you need to know all its manifestations. However, one should not forget that only a qualified doctor can make the final diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Good to know about ALLERGIES (allergi)

What is an allergy?

The word “allergy” is borrowed from the Greek language and means “another action.” Thus, allergies are changes in the body’s response to the effects of common substances found in the environment, which in themselves are harmless.These substances are called allergens, and the most common ones come from house mites, molds, woolly animals, food, drugs, metals, and pollen from grasses and trees.

When a patient comes into contact with an allergen, special antibodies (IgE) begin to be produced in his body. These antibodies are absorbed onto the surface of various inflammatory cells such as mast cells and basophilic granulocytes. Such cells are found, for example, in the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, blood and skin.Upon renewal of contact with the same allergen, a reaction between the antibody and the allergen may occur. This reaction produces chemicals that cause disorders such as itching, nasal congestion, coughing, and shortness of breath. The most important chemical produced in this process is histamine. Sometimes an allergy to a certain substance can develop quickly, and sometimes it happens over a long period of time.

Who May Have Allergies?

The hereditary factor plays an important role in the development of allergies.If neither parent is hypersensitive or allergic, there is a 15% chance that their child will develop an allergy. If one of the parents is allergic, then this figure will be 40%. In the presence of allergies in both parents, the probability of the child’s illness will be 60-80%. Often, food allergies in children go away with age, but adults can develop new types of allergies that affect the respiratory tract. Airway allergies rarely go away completely, but their intensity and symptoms can vary markedly and, in some cases, hardly be observed.Some, however, can react strongly to both pollen and animals in adulthood.

What are the symptoms of an allergy?

Pollen allergy primarily irritates the nose and eyes, but can also cause headaches, weakness, fatigue and decreased concentration. Many pollen allergy sufferers complain of discomfort in the mouth and throat when eating raw fruits and vegetables, especially during pollen season. This is because pollen allergens are similar to proteins found in food, which leads to cross-reactions.

In case of an acute allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock can occur, that is, a life-threatening sharp drop in blood pressure. This can happen with an injection (vaccine or fluoroscopy contrast fluid), an insect bite (such as a wasp), medication, or food. See also metal allergy and contact allergy fact sheets.

Prevalence

More than 40% of the population have allergic reactions during their lifetime.In most cases, these are mild symptoms. More serious allergic reactions are observed in 10-20% of the population. Most often, allergic symptoms appear already in childhood, although some people get their first allergic reactions as an adult.

Experts at the international level agree that in recent decades there has been an increase in the incidence of allergies. There is a lot to suggest that lifestyle factors such as altered diets and unhealthy indoor climates can play a role.In addition to this, the weakening of microbiological stimulation (hygienic hypothesis) and a change in the composition of the bacterial flora surrounding us should be noted.

Allergy treatment

If you think that you have an allergy, then, despite the sufficiency of preventive measures for mild to moderate symptoms, you should consult a doctor. The greatest effect will have a complete exclusion of contact with the allergen. In the case of food it is not easy, and in the case of pollen allergy it is almost impossible.Many are forced to use medications for allergic symptoms.

It is important to select the appropriate treatment method with the correct use of the necessary medications. The first aid for allergic nasal symptoms is the use of so-called topical steroids, available commercially in powder or inhaler form. Antihistamines, available as tablets, eye drops, and nasal inhalers, are also effective drugs with rare and safe side effects.As a rule, inhalation medication is necessary for symptoms arising in the lower respiratory tract. Here, too, topical steroids are central, often in combination with one or more other inhaled medications. You should refrain from injections of cortisone as long as possible, which, however, may be relevant in special cases (for example, before passing an exam) or when other types of treatment are not effective enough. The cortisone injection lasts for several weeks.

Anaphylactic shock can come on gradually or suddenly and be life-threatening. Those few patients with such a pronounced allergy that there is a danger of anaphylactic shock should always have an adrenaline syringe with them. In the event of shock, it is necessary to immediately inject adrenaline and immediately consult a doctor.

(Information on allergy vaccination can be found in a separate information sheet).

How is the diagnosis made?

When testing during acute allergic reactions, such as allergic rhinitis, the results will be fairly typical for allergies.However, clinical examination usually does not answer the question of whether the reaction is the result of an allergy, airway hyperactivity, chemical sensitivity, or something else. In this case, special tests for allergies are necessary, such as a blood test and a Pirquet test. Antihistamines should not be taken 7 days before the Pirke test, as they can reduce the degree of response. It is important that clinicians working with blood allergy tests can interpret the results correctly.

None of the allergy tests are 100% reliable. It is quite possible to have an allergy with negative test results and vice versa. Therefore, the patient’s medical history is most important in diagnosing allergies. There is no age limit for allergy testing.

How to get tested

If you suspect an allergy, contact your doctor. Some doctors do the analysis themselves. Otherwise, you will be referred to a specialist, clinic or hospital.The principle of free choice of a hospital in Norway allows for a choice based on the information received. On the website below and by calling the toll-free number 800 41 004 you can get information about the available allergy treatment sites. At www.sykehusvalg.net you will also find information about your rights regarding the choice of a hospital.

Prevention of allergy

It is estimated that allergies can be prevented by giving a baby breast milk during the first four to six months of life.You should not smoke during pregnancy, and children should not be exposed to tobacco smoke. It is necessary to create the most favorable indoor climate in the room.

How to understand that you have a food intolerance

Perhaps you are now thinking: “What nonsense, I have no intolerance.” Just think, the stomach is naughty after a cup of coffee, a piece of cheese or tomato sauce. But in fact, if you are faced with rumbling or, even worse, jumping on urgent matters in the middle of the night, then this just means that some product is not suitable for your body.

While we are against self-diagnosis or self-medication, in the case of food intolerances, you most likely already know which foods make you feel bad. Simply because it is a very real phenomenon (no matter how you laugh at a friend who is panicky about gluten).

We figured out what food intolerance is and how to learn to listen to your body.

Are intolerances and allergies the same thing?

If you notice that certain foods are bad for your well-being, you may have sinned on allergies.But, most likely, you have food intolerances.

It is quite easy to distinguish between them. Intolerance affects the body’s ability to digest certain foods normally. Food allergies affect the immune system. For example, many of the foods you see when walking through the store are labeled “lactose-free,” “nut-free,” or “egg-free,” because proteins from these ingredients can trigger an allergic reaction – rash, swelling, anaphylaxis.

“The vast majority of adverse food reactions are intolerances.Few are allergic to certain foods. But people find it very difficult to distinguish between the two in their day to day life, ”says Dr. Sandeep Gupta, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University and director of research at Community Health Network in Indianapolis.

How to distinguish one from the other?

Dr. Gupta is right: we have a hard time distinguishing allergies from intolerances. In 2015-2016, Northwestern University researchers conducted a study in which they asked more than 40,000 American adults online and over the phone if they had allergies.About 20% of those surveyed answered in the affirmative, but when researchers asked them more about their symptoms, it turned out that only 10% suffer from real food allergies.

So how do you know if a strange reaction or discomfort after eating is an allergy or intolerance? Start with your symptoms. In the first case, it can be: urticaria, swelling of the tongue or lips, shortness of breath and even anaphylaxis.

If you have an intolerance, the stomach will react first.“When a person eats“ problem ”food, it is not digested properly and begins to ferment in the intestines. Symptoms of food intolerance usually only appear in the gastrointestinal tract. These include gas and bloating, ”says Sonia Angelone, nutritionist and spokesperson for the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The most common food intolerance is lactose. A person with this type of disorder usually experiences some abdominal discomfort after consuming dairy products because they lack lactase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down milk sugar, in their stomach.

“Lactose intolerance is easy to diagnose. Drink a glass of milk and then watch for gas, bloating, diarrhea or cramps, ”says Angelone.

What else to look for?

However, sometimes it’s not that simple. People who ditch gluten tend to think that the proteins in beer or pasta are incompatible with their digestive tract, when in fact they just contain gas-forming carbs.

“People are good at understanding which foods make them feel uncomfortable, but they are not so well versed in the causes,” says Tamara Ducker Freiman, a New York-based nutritionist and author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer.

Some are afraid of nightshades like fire and do not eat eggplants, potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, although it may not be intolerance, but abuse. All nightshades contain alkaloids, which in high doses can be harmful to humans and even cause inflammation and headaches. Therefore, if you feel unwell after the Baku tomato salad, think about it – maybe next time you just split the portion for two?

Gupta, Angelone, and Freiman say the best way to find out if you have a food intolerance is to keep a food diary for two weeks, carefully recording what you eat, when and how much.Having identified a pattern, contact your doctor – he will tell you what to do next.

Food intolerances do not mean that you need to completely eliminate foods that you like from your life. You may just need to cut back on them in your diet.

First published published US GQ.

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A physician told how to recognize an allergy – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

How to distinguish hay fever caused by an allergic reaction to pollen from a cold.And how to treat seasonal allergies. The head of the department of hygiene of children and adolescents of the Federal Center for Medical and Preventive Technologies for Managing Public Health Risks, Candidate of Medical Sciences Svetlana Valina told about this, the website “aif.ru” reports.

Pollinosis can occur in spring, summer and autumn. In April-May, allergy sufferers react to the flowering of birch, alder, maple, hazel, in June-July – cereal grasses, in August-September – weeds.

“The peak incidence of hay fever occurs in a fairly wide age group – from 10 to 40 years, – said Valina.- For those who are younger and older, seasonal allergies are less common. And yet we are already registering isolated cases of hay fever in four-year-old children. This is due to the deterioration of the environmental situation, air pollution with chemicals. They increase the allergenicity of pollen, increase its life cycle, increase the susceptibility of the respiratory tract to allergens. ”

Valina notes that hay fever is easy to confuse with a cold, but there are signs that can help distinguish diseases from each other.In 95% of cases, seasonal allergy manifests itself in the same way: it is characterized by redness and pain in the eyes, swelling of the eyelids, lacrimation, itching of the palate and in the ears, sore throat, coughing, sneezing several times in a row, nasal congestion, watery, colorless discharge from the nose. And this is against the background of the absence of increased body temperature. With hay fever, an exacerbation of atopic dermatitis, bronchial asthma, urticaria, Quincke’s edema is possible.

In case of such symptoms it is necessary to consult an allergist.The doctor will prescribe special tests that will help to understand the nature of the disease and identify allergens to which a particular organism reacts.

“In spring and summer, when everything is in bloom, blood is taken for analysis to determine allergen-specific immunoglobulins. This helps to identify the active allergen. There is another method – skin tests, but they are done outside the flowering season, in winter or late autumn. When the allergen is clear, prescribe treatment, which always includes anti-inflammatory, antihistamines, vasoconstrictor drugs, sorbents.Those who know about their diagnosis, prepare in advance, starting treatment in winter, “- said Valina.

Some nonspecific preventive measures can alleviate the condition with hay fever. The concentration of pollen is especially high in the morning and in dry, windy weather. For this reason, at this time period early in the morning you should not leave the house. On the street you need to wear sunglasses and a hat, and after a walk to take a shower and change clothes; you also need to regularly do wet cleaning at home.

The physician advised “to take care of proper nutrition, since there such a phenomenon as cross-allergy “, and” the use of certain vegetables, fruits, cereals can intensify its manifestations. “

“Depending on when you have an allergic reaction, it is worth giving up some foods. If in April-May, it is better to exclude apples, raw carrots, stone fruits (cherries, cherries, peaches, etc.), nightshades from the diet. (tomatoes, potatoes). In June-July – to limit the use of bakery products, bran, cereals, beer, kvass, coffee substitutes, sausages. In August-September – melons (melons, watermelons), zucchini, eggplants, sunflower seeds, halva , citrus fruits, honey, and from alcoholic beverages – vermouth “, – stressed Valina.

Is there an alcohol allergy and how does it manifest

All beverages containing ethyl alcohol are considered alcohol. It happens that one person does not feel well from one glass of wine, and the other does not get worse after the bottle.

Understanding why people react differently to alcohol.

Allergy to alcohol or alcohol intolerance?

Allergy is an individual reaction of the immune system to compounds that usually do not pose a threat to humans.Immunity cells attack a potential allergen, which is manifested by unpleasant symptoms: difficulty breathing, watery eyes, runny nose, redness of the skin, itching, severe abdominal pain and others, up to anaphylactic shock – a severe, often life-threatening form of allergy.

Allergy to alcohol is extremely rare, as the human body produces a small amount of it. Allergy tests, as a rule, do not show a reaction to ethyl alcohol, but can show a reaction to its derivatives – acetaldehyde and acetic acid, which are formed when alcohol is neutralized in the body.

An allergic reaction after drinking alcohol is caused not by the presence of alcohol, but by the products of its processing.

In addition, symptoms may occur in response to other compounds found in alcoholic beverages. For example, a person with a wheat allergy may develop a reaction after drinking beer, and a person with a grape protein allergy may develop a reaction to wine.

Usually, the presence of symptoms does not depend on the amount of alcohol consumed. The more we drink alcohol at a time, the more damage is done to the body, and allergies or intolerances have nothing to do with it.In people who are allergic to alcohol, even 1 milliliter of alcohol can cause a strong reaction.

Why do we get drunk from alcohol. Video with Russian subtitles

Intolerance, in contrast to allergies, has slightly different symptoms. Usually a person’s face, neck and chest turn red in this case. Blood pressure may decrease and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea may occur, and an exacerbation of bronchial asthma may develop. Alcohol intolerance depends on genetics and allergies are much more common.

Approximate difference between allergy and intolerance symptoms.

Allergy Intolerance
Difficulty breathing Low blood pressure
Redness in different parts of the body Redness of the face, neck, chest
Itching Nausea
Severe abdominal pain Vomiting
Edema Diarrhea

How is genetics related to alcohol intolerance?

When ethyl alcohol enters the body, it is broken down by a special enzyme, the work of which depends on the variant of the ADh2B gene.In the process of neutralization, acetaldehyde is formed, a toxic substance that destroys cells of the liver, pancreas and brain, and also increases the risk of developing various forms of cancer.

Studies show that people with poor decomposition of acetaldehyde are more likely to develop malignant tumors associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

To reduce the effect of acetaldehyde, the liver produces another enzyme. It breaks down acetaldehyde and thus helps to remove it from the body.The work of this enzyme is also linked to genes. The ALDh3 gene variant determines how well your body breaks down acetaldehyde.

It turns out that the processing of alcohol in the human body depends on two genes ADh2B and ALDh3. If one of them has such an option, in which an insufficient amount of the desired enzyme is produced, the body neutralizes alcohol worse, which causes unpleasant reactions after drinking it. As a rule, alcohol intolerance is more common among residents of Asian countries.

How do I know if I have an allergy or alcohol intolerance?

It is enough to pay attention to the symptoms that occur after drinking alcohol. If even a small amount of alcohol causes unpleasant symptoms, it is most likely that you have an allergy or intolerance. Note that a hangover and a severe condition after drinking alcohol does not belong to intolerance or allergies.

It is also possible to check for intolerance with the help of genetic research.For example, in the Atlas Genetic Test, we examine variants of the ADh2B and ALDh3 genes that are associated with alcohol neutralization. However, genetic testing will only show a predisposition.

If you suspect you are allergic to alcohol, discuss this with a specialist. The doctor will prescribe additional examinations to find out the cause of the negative reaction.

The absence of symptoms and genetic predisposition does not mean that alcohol is safe for you. A large amount of alcohol is a serious burden on the body, which increases the risks of various diseases.In order not to harm the body, it is recommended not to consume more than one serving of alcohol at a time. This is approximately:

  • A 330 ml mug of beer with 5% alcohol
  • A 150 ml glass of wine with 12% alcohol
  • A 30 ml glass of spirits with 40% alcohol

Is it possible to get rid of allergies and intolerance?

Allergy medications and those that reduce stomach acid can cope with symptoms.However, their use can worsen the situation. Since these drugs mask the symptoms and the person feels fewer unpleasant reactions, they tend to drink more alcohol than usual. In this case, the unpleasant consequences from the use of such drugs are greater than the benefits.

In order not to aggravate the manifestation of allergies and intolerances, it is recommended to avoid active and passive smoking. Cigarette smoke also contains acetaldehyde, and smoking increases the level of this toxic substance in the body, which increases the risk of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular diseases.

Find out if you have a genetic predisposition to alcohol intolerance with the Atlas Genetic Test. The study also includes over 400 reports on health, nutrition and sports, as well as information on lineage. Use promo code blog10 to get 10% discount.

90,000 When Sex Is Dangerous: Semen Allergy | Culture and Lifestyle in Germany and Europe | DW

The chief physician of the Bonn University Hospital, dermatologist and allergist, Professor Jean Pierre Allam still remembers his first patient, who was diagnosed with a rare type of disease – an allergy to male semen.The woman complained that after sexual contact, she began to show signs of a local allergic reaction – severe itching and swelling of the genitals. According to the physician, at present, about a third of patients in allergology departments apply with such complaints.

Jean-Pierre Allam

Many women with this type of allergy have even more severe symptoms. We are talking about the so-called “systemic reactions” that cause harm to the entire body. “In such cases, redness of the skin is accompanied by severe burning, shortness of breath, dizziness, frequent urge to defecate and urinate.It can lead to anaphylactic shock, fraught with loss of consciousness and even death, “explains Professor Jean-Pierre Allam. According to him, this is similar to an allergic reaction caused by a sting of bees and wasps. the disease was described back in 1958, and few people know about sperm allergy. On the one hand, the reason lies in the fact that only about a hundred cases of such a disease are described in the special literature. There are no exact statistics either.According to the assumptions of doctors, in developed countries, this form of allergy is especially widespread. It’s just that not all women suffering from it dare to see a doctor. Or, doctors make an erroneous diagnosis, since semen allergy can be easily confused with infectious or sexually transmitted diseases.

Risk group

Male semen consists of a number of substances that can cause allergies. In most cases, it is provoked by an endogenous protein (prostate specific antigen – PSA) contained in the prostate of every man.During ejaculation, PSA provides sperm liquefaction and thereby increases sperm motility, which is necessary for penetration into the female egg and its fertilization.

Allergies are caused by the substances contained in semen

In some patients, the first sexual intercourse in their life was marked by a strong allergic reaction. Later studies have suggested that the risk group includes primarily women susceptible to PSA allergy in dogs.From the mucous membrane of the canine external genital organs, endogenous protein is carried through the dog’s hair, after which it can spread throughout the apartment. So when we talk about “hypersensitivity to dogs,” we are not talking about an allergy to wool, but an allergy to foreign proteins that have settled on the hairs. Therefore, doctors strongly recommend: get a dog – be careful, stroke the dog – wash your hands thoroughly!

Allergies to semen are also susceptible to those who are hypersensitive to certain foods.For example, there is a known case when a woman who is allergic to nuts almost lost her life after sexual contact with a man who, as it later turned out, was eating nuts a few hours before the date.

When men are affected

Allergic reactions to semen also occur in men. This disease, called Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS), is still poorly understood. According to Professor Allam, the symptoms reported by such patients are not always associated with allergies.Patients complain of headache, prostration, fever, runny nose. Moreover, the malaise can make itself felt for a whole week after ejaculation. At first glance, everything looks like a cold.

Nevertheless, doctors believe that in some cases it may be an allergic reaction. This is confirmed by the results of the so-called allergic skin tests, which are used in the diagnosis of allergic diseases. They showed that many men with post-orgasmic malaise syndrome are also allergic to their own PSA.The social consequences of this autoimmune disease are such that during sex, many patients try to avoid orgasm, or even abstain from sexual intercourse.

How to beat the disease

But what about those who are allergic to semen? For women who do not want children, the simplest solution is to use a condom, says Jean-Pierre Allam. For those who dream of offspring, the doctor offers three options. If the allergy symptoms are only local in nature and do not affect the entire body, the patient can take antihistamines that can relieve itching, swelling, and redness.

Another possibility is to use the method of desensitization with allergens contained in semen: a small amount of an allergen is injected locally into the woman’s body. Each time, its volume increases. Gradually, the immune system gets used to the substance, and tolerance develops, explains Jean-Pierre Allam.

At the same time, the allergist makes a significant reservation: the minus of the desensitization method is that in order to maintain tolerance, re-introduction of allergens must be carried out in a relatively short time – every two to three days.Otherwise, everything will go down the drain.

The third option is artificial insemination. If a woman wants to give birth to a child from a partner, to whose PSA she is allergic, his sperm is taken, the sperm is gradually released from the prostatic specific antigen and their introduction into the egg. In Germany, for allergies confirmed by a doctor’s diagnosis, the costs of these procedures can be covered by health insurance.

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