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Food Allergy

Food Allergy is a phenomenon in which the “immunity” mechanism that eliminates foreign substances that have entered the body works hypersensitively.

  • Overview

It is a disease that is especially common in children, and it is thought that 5 to 10% of infants and 1 to 3% of school children are allergic to food. However, it is known that chicken eggs, milk, and wheat. Which the main causative foods, become less allergic as they get older. However, some people may have a very strong, life-threatening, systemic symptom called anaphylactic shock.

Food allergies are those in which the “immune” function overreacts to “allergens (substances that cause allergies. Most of which are proteins)” contained in specific foods, causing various symptoms in the body. “Immune” is originally a function to eliminate harmful substances to the body.

Normally, when foods that are the source of nutrition for the body are digested and absorbed. They do not respond, but if there is a problem with the immune function or digestive absorption function. They try to eliminate the absorbed food is harmful. It is expected that many symptoms will occur. Food allergens can take not only by mouth but also by inhalation, skin contact, injection, etc. If allergic symptoms occur by any of these routes, it is called food allergy.

  • Cause

The cause of food allergies is the protein contained in foods, but which foods are allergic to each individual varies. In school age, the proportion of crustaceans, fruits, nuts, etc. increases. The mechanism by which the body recognizes these foods as foreign substances. Which should be harmless in the first place, has not been fully elucidated, but the ingredients of the food come into contact with the skin damaged by eczema etc. It thought that the cause that the food is mistaken for foreign matter.

  • Symptoms

Typical symptoms are skin symptoms such as urticaria, eczema, and itching, respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, cough, and dyspnea, and mucosal symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching, and swelling and discomfort in the mouth. Approximately 70% of patients have skin symptoms, and 30% have respiratory and mucosal symptoms. In addition, gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting, neurological symptoms such as headache and loss of energy. And systemic symptoms such as decreased blood pressure and loss of consciousness may occur. A condition in which systemic symptoms particularly strong and life-threatening called “anaphylactic shock”, and prompt treatment required in this case. They also a special condition called “food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis”. That causes strong systemic allergic symptoms when exercising after ingesting certain foods.

  • Inspection / diagnosis

If you have hives or eczema after eating, not all are food allergies. Food poisoning, hives caused by chemical substances in foods. And diseases in which digestive juice degrading enzymes do not work well are also possible. Therefore, we will identify the differences from these and perform tests and diagnoses to identify foods that cause allergies.

First, ask what you ate, how much you ate, and what symptoms you had after a few minutes. And then compare it with the blood test results to determine which food was the cause. The amount of an immune substance called IgE antibody specific to each food measured and it estimated whether the food is the cause.

You can also use the skin prick test, which drops the causative substance on the surface of the skin. And lightly stabs it with a needle to see if a reaction occurs. However, in the end, the food oral challenge test. In which the suspected cause ate at a medical institution and the symptoms observed, is the standard test for judgment.

  • Treatment

There is no cure for food allergies yet. Treatment is based on identifying the causative food and following the nutritional dietary guidance provided by the medical institution to lead a diet with the causative food removed to the minimum necessary. There also an initiative called food oral immunotherapy (oral desensitization therapy). It is a method of eating a small amount of the causative food that does not cause symptoms, gradually acclimatizing the body, and gradually increasing the amount of the causative food so that the causative food can be eaten.

However, this method carries the risk of inducing anaphylaxis and requires special safety precautions. For this reason, it must do under the guidance of a doctor who specializes in allergies. If you experience anaphylactic shock such as low blood pressure and become unconscious, do not hesitate to go to the hospital by ambulance. Patients at risk of developing anaphylactic shock may prescribed adrenaline self-injection in advance. So that they can be treated when symptoms occur.

  • Precautions after prevention / treatment

If there are multiple causative foods, it is difficult to continue with a completely removed diet, but taking an oral food challenge test not only identifies the causative food. You can also see that. You may be able to eat processed foods. Also, once you have removed certain foods, you will need to eat nutritious foods instead. So it is advisable to actively take an oral food challenge test and seek the diagnosis and guidance of a professional doctor. Talk to your child’s nursery school, kindergarten, or school teacher when removing the causative food.

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