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Common Food Allergies

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Image is from FARE

Theoretically, any food you consume would cause an allergy. However, only a handful of foods can cause around 90 percent of allergic reactions to food. The substance responsible for allergic reactions in drinks or foods is known as an “allergen.” In regards to food, almost all allergens are proteins. However, for most individuals, these proteins are not allergens since their immune system hardly reacts to them

The Most Common Allergenic Foods

These are also referred to as the ‘big eight.’ They are;

  • milk
  • wheat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • peanuts (groundnuts)
  • soy
  • shellfish (including crab, shrimps, and mussels)
  • nuts from trees (including almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and walnuts)

Most allergic reactions to food among children are to soya, milk, peanuts, eggs, wheat, and nuts from trees. Most children seize being allergic to these foods early on in their childhood. A majority of adults typically react to fish, nuts, shellfish, citrus fruit, wheat, and peanuts.

Fish allergy

Fish allergy can be responsible for causing severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. Children are less likely to have an allergic reaction to fish and shellfish than adults. This could be attributed to the likeliness of adults having eaten fish more often than children. If you get allergic to one type of fish such as haddock, then you are likely to react to other types of fish including cod, whiting, mackerel, and hake. The reason for this is that the allergens contained in these fish are quite similar. Unfortunately, cooking does not terminate fish allergens. In fact, if you have a fish allergy, you might be allergic to cooked fish but not raw fish.

Egg allergy

Egg allergy is more common in childhood just like most food allergies. By the age of three, almost half the children who have it grow out of it. Egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis in a few cases. There are three proteins in the egg white that would make you get an egg allergy namely: ovalbumin, conalbumin, and ovomucoid. Cooking can help you destroy some of these allergens, but not others. Therefore, you might find yourself reacting to both cooked and raw eggs.

Occasionally, you might find yourself reacting to eggs because you are allergic to turkey, quail or chicken meat, or even bird feathers. This is typically called bird-egg syndrome.

Milk allergy

This is the most common food allergy in childhood as it affects 2-7% of babies below one-year-old. Milk allergy is prevalent among babies with atopic dermatitis. A reaction is typically triggered by small amounts of milk that can either be passed from feeding cow’s milk to the baby or through the mother’s breast milk from dairy products she has consumed. While most children grow out of milk allergy by age three, a fifth of children who are allergic to cow’s milk remain allergic to it even as adults

In most cases, the symptoms of milk allergy are mild and can affect any part of your body. They include;

  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • vomiting and
  • difficulty in breathing

Milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis in very few cases.

You can be allergic to either casein or whey, or even both of these allergens. Heat treatment like pasteurization changes whey so if you are sensitive to whey, you might not react to pasteurized milk. However, heat treatment doesn’t affect casein, so if you are allergic to casein, you are more likely to react to all types of milk and its products.

Some highly hydrolyzed milk formulas might be suitable for babies with cow’s milk allergy.

The food allergies named above are just a few of the many affecting humans.

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