Top 10 Food Allergy Myths

In modern society allergy is big part of our life, so what are top myth to stop believing in.

1.You’re “allergic” to any food that gives you problems.

This statement is false, since there are several problems that can arise after eating specific foods, the majority of which are unrelated to allergy. True allergies to foods are immunologic reactions involving the class of immunoglobulins (proteins that assist in the body’s immune response) known as immunoglobulin (Ig) E. Other kinds of reactions to foods that are not food allergies include food intolerances (such as lactose or milk intolerance ), food poisoning, and toxic reactions.

The prevalence of food allergy in the population is much lower than the prevalence of adverse reactions to foods. It is estimated that true food allergies occur in 2% to 5% of the population.

2.Food allergies can be mild.

Truth:  Yes, reactions can be mild, but even if someone has experienced mild reactions (such as a rash) in the past, they can still have an anaphylactic response to the next exposure.  Allergies are unpredictable.  Here are some possible reactions to exposure to peanuts:  rash, vomiting, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure, swelling, losing the ability to breath (which will cause death if not treated immediately).

3.Food allergy is the same as “intolerance” or “sensitivity.”

There are similarities, for sure. Allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity are a little bit like siblings. They all belong to the same “family” of bad reactions to food. But there are big differences.

An allergy happens when the immune system, your body’s defense against germs, has a reaction to a particular food. It can be mild, like an itchy feeling or hives. Sometimes you get severe symptoms — called anaphylaxis — like trouble breathing, a swollen tongue, or dizziness.
Food intolerance means your body is missing an enzyme you need to digest some type of food. If you’re lactose intolerant, for instance, you don’t have enough lactase, an enzyme that lets you digest dairy products. If you’re gluten intolerant, you can’t process gluten, which is found in some grains including wheat, barley, and rye.

4.You cannot have an allergic reaction on the first known oral exposure to a food allergen.

Mythbuster

Over one‐third of IgE‐mediated allergic reactions occur to a food with no known prior ingestion.

The why?

It is immunologically required to be exposed to antigen/allergen in order to switch B cells from IgM to IgE production and for affinity maturation of B cell responses. This initial exposure (and sensitisation in allergic individuals) to an allergen may occur through the gut via allergens in breast milk,12 the skin particularly in children with a breakdown in the normal skin barrier such as those infants with eczema,13 or more rarely via the respiratory tract without any apparent ingestion of the food in question.

5.All food allergies in children resolve as they get older.” 

As they grow older, some children may tolerate foods that previously caused allergic reactions. This is more likely to happen in the case of allergies to milk, eggs, and wheat, in which the severity of reactions (or symptoms) may decrease by late childhood.

It is not clear in all cases, however, if the improved symptoms are an indication that the allergy has disappeared. Peanut allergy is the least likely to go away. To determine if a food allergy has gone away after an appropriate strict elimination period (typically greater than a year) an oral challenge should be undertaken by an allergist skilled in conducting these challenges.

6. As long as you don’t introduce a food to a child at too young of an age, and no one in your family has food allergies, your child will not develop one.

Truth:  Nobody knows what causes food allergies.  Also, even if no one in your family has ever had a food allergy, your child could develop one (as in our case).  No one is safe from food allergies.  They can even develop as an adult to a food you’ve eaten your whole life.

7.Most food allergies are caused by additives such as artificial colors and flavorings.

“Absolutely a myth,” McMorris says. It’s true that some reactions to additives are similar to those caused by food allergies. Nitrates, for instance, can cause hives and itching. And red and yellow food coloring have been linked to anaphylaxis.

The actual allergy triggers are the proteins in the food, McMorris says. Food additive intolerance is rare. Less than 1% of adults have it.

8.Only children who have had a history of anaphylaxis need an adrenaline autoinjector.

Mythbuster

It is not necessary for a child to have previously experienced anaphylaxis in order to be assessed as being ‘at risk of anaphylaxis’.

The why?

Whether or not a child with an IgE‐mediated food allergy is at risk of anaphylaxis is a clinical judgment that must be considered for all individuals presenting with an IgE‐mediated food allergy. There is no current test (skin test and OFC or other) that can reliably determine this risk.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) guidelines state that an adrenaline autoinjector (AAI) prescription is recommended for individuals with a history of anaphylaxis and may also be recommended if there are other known risk factors for more severe or fatal reactions. This includes children with a history of a generalised allergic reaction and any one of the following: adolescent age group, nut allergy, comorbid conditions (e.g. asthma and arrhythmia) or limited access to emergency medical care.

9.Peanut allergy is the most common food allergy.”

 Peanut allergy is the food allergy most likely to result in anaphylactic reactions (severe, potentially fatal allergic reactions), but only about 0.6% of the population is affected by peanut allergy. The most common food allergies reported by adults are allergies to fruits and vegetables.

Any food you’re allergic to could cause a serious reaction, whether it’s peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, or shellfish. Those eight foods make up 90% of food allergies in the U.S. All of them have the potential to be life-threatening, McMorris says.

10.Oral desensitisation is a cure for food allergy.

Mythbuster

Although small studies suggest that desensitisation with a daily dose of allergen can be achieved for a majority of children with egg, milk and peanut allergy, the majority of children remain allergic once the daily therapy is ceased with current oral immunotherapy regimes and both minor and serious side effects are common.

The why?

Recent studies have reported successful desensitisation with oral immunotherapy (OIT) to peanut, milk and egg. This therapy is generally based upon daily administration of gradually increases allergen doses allergen with up‐dosing and maintenances phases. These have shown a capacity to induce desensitisation in allergic individuals, albeit with both mild and severe allergic symptoms during therapy in a significant proportion of patients.

However, the proportion of children reported to maintain sustained tolerance once regular daily administration of the allergen is ceased is disappointing low at less than 25% with high rates of side effects.

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Sources: http://www.webmd.com, http://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com, http://www.itchylittleworld.com, http://www.medicinenet.com

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