Food allergies are a usual reaction of the body when someone eats an unfamiliar food. The immune response was seen to be a result of an ingestion of a protein, which serves as an allergen to the body. Up to 8% of children and 4% of adults have food allergies.
Food allergies can start from even a small amount of food and can eventually lead to signs and symptoms such as itchiness, rashes, edema and even difficulty of breathing. Having food allergies can be a disturbing condition because those who have it can simply not enjoy their food especially on social gatherings and the like because of the fear that they may develop allergies from foods.
A good way to prevent food allergies is to prevent eating those that you are sensitive to. For some, doing this is easy as they may have grown knowing their food allergies. However, for some, this can be a challenge because food allergies can also develop later in life when identifying the food is difficult because of so much food component that people eat in a day. Nevertheless, there are proven and effective ways to determine food allergies for appropriate mode of care or management. The following are the common ways by which you can identify your food allergies:
- Using a food diary
Identifying your food allergy after you have eaten for a couple of days can make things more difficult since you can have several food components that can be a possible source of sensitivity. Keeping a food diary can allow you to determine the foods you ate in a day and can limit possible causes. In making your food diary, list all the foods (plus the ingredients) you had per day. Alongside them, indicate the allergic symptoms you had and the specific time they developed. In this way, you can associate an allergy with a particular meal in a day, which can help you identify your food sensitivity.
- Elimination diet
Elimination diet requires several weeks to identify the food allergy. This is a more specific way to identify your food allergy because it will usually directly link your symptoms with a particular food. This is also done shortly after you make your food diary. Your doctor will ask you to remove food products that might be causing your allergies for several weeks. After which, they are gradually introduced one at a time. If allergy symptoms appear during the time a particular food item is introduced, it may indicate that you are allergic to it.
- Skin testing
The fastest and most definitive way to identify food allergies is through skin testing. In this process, various food proteins are injected one at a time under the skin. The injection site is left for 30 minutes and is assessed for redness, swelling and itchiness after the prescribed time. The presence of any of the three symptoms may indicate that you are allergic to a specific food protein.
These three steps are the most common ways to detect any food allergies. If you think you have it or your child has it, keep a food diary and consult a physician for the right management and prevention.