This time of year with the pollen three inches thick on my car got me thinking about allergies. Most of my patients complain of food allergies more than seasonal allergies. Doroski Chiropractic Neurology in the Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia area wants to give an outline on food allergies.
Food allergies and intolerances are often misunderstood. Although many people have adverse reactions to certain foods, true food allergy—a reaction triggered by the immune system—is uncommon. Talk to your patients about food allergies and intolerances.
What is a food allergy?
Food allergies occur when the patient’s immune system has an abnormal response to an otherwise harmless food or food component. Once the immune system mistakenly decides that a particular food is harmful, it creates specific antibodies to it.
The next time you eat that food, the immune system releases neutralizing chemicals, including histamine, to protect the body.
These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin and/or cardiovascular system.
Food allergy patterns in adults often differ from those in children.
The most common foods to cause allergies in adults are shrimp, lobster, crab and other shellfish; peanuts; walnuts and other tree nuts; fish; and eggs.
In children, eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat are the main culprits. Children typically outgrow these allergies. Unlike children, adults usually do not lose their allergies.
According to the National Institutes of Health, you’re more likely to develop food allergies if several members of your family have allergies.
What are symptoms of food allergies?
Symptoms of a food allergy can include:
tingling in the mouth
swelling in the tongue and throat
skin reactions like hives, eczema or itching
abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Some foods can cause severe illness and, in some cases, a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can constrict airways in the lungs, severely lower blood pressure and cause suffocation by the swelling of the tongue or throat. People with asthma are particularly at risk for anaphylactic reactions.
What is a food intolerance?
A food intolerance is a digestive system response—not an immune system response. It occurs when something in a food irritates a person’s digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest or break down the food—often due to a lack of a specific enzyme.
Intolerance to lactose, found in milk and other dairy products, is a very common food intolerance.
If you have a food allergy, eating even the smallest amount of the food may trigger a serious allergic reaction. But if you have a food intolerance, you can often eat small amounts of the food without a reaction.
How are food allergies managed?
The best way to manage a food allergy is to avoid the foods that trigger the reaction.
Read the detailed ingredient lists on each food you consider eating.
Many allergy-producing foods, such as peanuts, eggs and milk, appear in foods one normally would not associate them with.
Peanuts and milk, for example, may be used in a variety of foods, such as candy, caramel sauces, baked goods and cereals.
Eggs are used in some salad dressings, marshmallows, mayonnaise and sauces.
Avoid restaurant-prepared foods that might contain ingredients to which you are allergic.
If you suffer from severe allergies with a high possibility of anaphylaxis, it is often advised to carry a pre-loaded syringe containing epinephrine (adrenaline) for emergency treatment.
Milder allergies can be treated with an antihistamine.
Can a chiropractor help treat my allergies?
Some doctors of chiropractic specialize in the treatment of allergies, such as those who are members of the ACA’s Council on Diagnosis and Internal Disorders or Council on Nutrition.
The doctor of chiropractic may ask the patient to maintain a food diary to record the foods eaten each day and any resulting symptoms.
Specific allergy tests may be recommended to help determine the exact allergen.
Doroski Chiropractic Neurology
3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102
Woodbridge VA 22192
703 730 9588