Am I Having an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction is a response from your immune system when it becomes exposed to a foreign substance. This could be food based or something in the environment.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases can be life-threatening such as anaphylaxis.
More than 50 million Americans have experienced various types of allergies each year and they are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Some may confuse an allergic reaction with a food intolerance/sensitivity, or other condition but should not be ignored. If you suspect you have an allergy, it is important to have it diagnosed.
Symptoms of a Reaction:
Typically, a food allergy reaction will occur within 5 minutes or up to 2 hours after eating the offending food. Some symptoms include:
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or other parts of the body
- Wheezing or compromised breathing
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheaded
In the case of anaphylaxis, emergency treatment is critical. Untreated, it can be fatal.
If you experience any of the above symptoms after consuming a specific food, it is important to seek out the advice of an allergist.
Common Food Allergies
There are 8 foods that cause about 90% of food allergy reactions:
- Tree nuts
While other foods may cause bloating, gas, or headache, it does not mean that you are allergic to them. They could just have a sensitivity or intolerance towards them which is not physically harmful.
There are also a number of triggers within our environment that can cause symptoms. While environmental allergies are not typically life threatening, they can be bothersome.
If you suspect allergies or are unsure what is causing some of your symptoms, seek medical attention. Common symptoms of environmental allergies include:
- Clear, watery mucus
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Symptoms do not subside after a few days
- Symptoms are seasonal such as every spring or fall
Many times, environmental allergies can be confused with a different condition, such as a cold, which is why diagnosis is important.
Being informed and staying on top of conditions and symptoms is important for good health maintenance. Ask your doctor about symptoms and conditions that concern you.