Allergic reactions: Why do they happen?

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Bread, rolls

Allergic reactions can be scary, especially if it happens to a child. Adults can usually avoid foods to which they are allergic. However, allergies to certain food items can happen at any time, and they can also disappear for unknown reasons. Imagine your nine-month-old baby suddenly has an allergic reaction to soy and can’t breathe. There could be swelling around the child’s mouth. If you don’t react quickly enough, the little one could go into anaphylactic shock, which could be deadly.

What causes an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction happens when your immune system mistakes harmless food items for being dangerous. It will immediately launch an attack, causing havoc in the person’s body. If you like to entertain and host dinner parties, it would be wise to get familiar with foods that could potentially cause dinner guests to have allergic reactions.

Some foods are known to cause allergic reactions. So, if you check with your invited guests about food allergies, you could avoid serving specific allergenic foods.

Celery, stalks
Spices and condiments could contain celery

Celery and sesame are two food items that are not common allergens, and therefore, could cause reactions even if prepared foods or spice mixes contain small quantities of them. Celery could cause oral allergy syndrome (OAS), in which the body mistakes certain vegetables and fruit for pollen. It starts with skin itchiness and irritation and develop into hives and swelling in and around the mouth. But let’s explore the more commonly known food allergens.

Wheat, allergic reaction
Wheat could be used as a thickener in soups and sauces

Wheat — children can outgrow wheat allergies

Managing wheat allergies is difficult because of its prevalence in our Western diets. Wheat is the primary ingredient of cereal, baked goods and bread. Some sauces and soups could have wheat as a thickener, and that could be a hidden danger. Children with wheat allergies usually outgrow it. Allergic reactions can include allergic rhinitis, hives, atopic dermatitis, asthma and anaphylactic shock.

Allergic reactions, soy milk
Soy milk to replace cow’s milk

Soy — allergic reactions can include acne

Although soy was originally used as a solution for milk allergies, it has become one of the top eight allergens. Children can outgrow this allergy. The allergic reactions are the typical asthma, hives and anaphylactic shock. Moreover, it could cause canker sores, colitis and acne.

Crustacean, lobster
Shellfish allergy

Shellfish allergy doesn’t usually include finned fish

Allergies to shellfish usually develop in adults and do not typically include allergic reactions to finned fish. Allergens are crustaceans like lobster, shrimps and crab. However, mollusks like mussels, squid and oysters are also part of the shellfish allergens. Allergic reactions to shellfish are the same as for other allergies.

Fish, salmon
Salmon could cause an allergic reaction

Fish — cross-contamination can cause allergic reactions

If you are allergic to one type of fish, you may be wise to avoid other kinds. Most commonly known for causing allergies are salmon and cod. However, eating sardines, mackerel, tuna and anchovies are risky. Keep in mind that Caesar dressing and Worcestershire sauce contain anchovies. Beware, even if you order non-fish items from a seafood restaurant’s menu, cross-contamination can occur in the kitchen. It can cause the typical allergic reactions.

Tree Nuts, allergens
Tree nuts allergens

Tree Nuts — allergic reactions even without ingestion

Cashews, almonds, walnuts and cashews most common offenders, although it is safer to avoid all tree nuts if you are allergic to one type. This allergy usually lasts for life, and along with the typical reactions, they can cause digestive problems. Body lotions and shampoo could contain tree nut oils. Therefore, if you are allergic to tree nuts, check the labels of your skincare products. Without ingestion, these products can trigger allergic reactions.

Peanuts, allergen
Peanut allergy could be deadly

Peanuts — Allergic reactions can lead to death

Peanuts, which are actually legumes and not nuts, are most notorious for causing deadly allergic reactions. This allergy is most common in children, although they can outgrow it. Note that if you have a mild allergic reaction once, the following time you eat a peanut, your reaction will be more severe.

Eggs, fried
Eggs can be in many prepared foods

Eggs — A most frustrating allergy to have

The list of foods that contain either the white or the yolk of eggs or both is endless. Allergic people must avoid almost all baked goods, mayonnaise, processed meats, pasta and certain drinks like white wine and root beer. All these could contain some form of egg ingredients. Along with the typical allergic reaction, they may also experience headaches, coughing and runny nose.

Milk — allergy different to lactose intolerance

Milk is the cause of the most allergic reactions worldwide. Babies often outgrow milk allergies by the time they turn one year old. However, some people suffer from milk allergies for life. It must not be confused with lactose intolerance, which causes bloating and gas and none of the typical allergic reactions.

glass, milk cause allergic reactions
Milk– one of the most common allergens

There you have it

These are the top eight causes of allergic reactions among Americans, making up almost 90% of all food allergies.

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