Many of us watch what we eat for dietary purposes. We try to avoid chocolate or chips in the name of a smaller waistline. But imagine if watching what you ate became potentially a matter of life and death. This is what it is like for people with severe allergies.
Food allergies are extremely common and are becoming ever increasingly so. They are particularly predominant in children. If undiagnosed this becomes a very difficult thing for, not only the affected child, but also members of the family, carers and teachers. They cannot avoid an allergy that they do not know exists and it is painful to watch a child suffer. The solution is allergy testing. Avoid unnecessary wastes of money and time in trying to cure a child and begin at the source. What is the cause?
Allergy testing can be done through a number of methods. This may include skin prick tests, blood tests, patch tests and through keeping a symptom diary. None of these procedures are painful or stressful and so they are suitable for children and infants; the main demographics affected by food allergies.
Following allergy testing, one can begin a treatment, management or prevention plan. Depending on the level of intolerance of the individual case, plans might include ways to avoid the identified trigger, medication for treating specific symptoms, or immunotherapy to build up tolerance to the specific allergen.
The most common food allergies among children are peanuts, milk and shellfish. These foods might seem easy to avoid, but often they are ingredients included in food that you may not realize. Chocolate bars, for example, may not contain nuts, but if they were produced in a factory that also houses nut-products they become a risk. Trying to avoid all products that may contain an allergy often leaves not much in a diet. Particularly if a child is allergic to the staple food of their country or culture, diets can leave the body weak and lethargic. In severe cases, allergies can also affect children socially as they aren’t able to sit with their friends at lunch, instead segregated and placed at allergy-free tables. It is also difficult and frustrating for a child to see all the delicious food being eaten by their friends that they cannot have.
Allergens aren’t exclusive to food products though. While food allergies are the most common types, allergic reactions can also come as the result of contact with dust mites, pollen and grass, certain chemicals, pets, or latex. Insect stings are also a common source of reaction. With so many potential allergens floating around, allergy testing can only be a good idea.
Adults are also susceptible to allergies. While some children grow out of their intolerance (namely those affected by milk, egg, soy and wheat), many also do not. Dust and smoke allergies are also widespread among adults. If you are suffering with symptoms that seem to have no cause, give allergy testing a go.