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In the UK, it is estimated that 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children have a food allergy. This equates to around 2 million people living in the UK with a food allergy and this figure does not include those with food intolerances. Read on to discover more about allergies and how to deal with them.
A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be very serious. In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.
Many people with allergies can trace symptoms back to infancy – particularly eczema. The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to have a food allergy. It’s still unknown why certain people develop allergies to food, although they often have other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.
Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.
Normally food allergy symptoms appear within a few minutes of eating the offending food, although they may be delayed by up to a couple of hours. The symptoms are usually those of ‘classic’ allergy, some of which are listed below:
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to identify the food that causes the allergy and avoid it. Here’s some things you should keep in mind:
People with a food allergy are often given a device known as an auto-injector pen, which contains doses of adrenaline that can be used in emergencies.
Our independent healthcare services at Duality Health offer tests for a wide range of allergens. We can check for specific substances, but it is usually better to test for a group of potential allergens. That way, patients are more likely to find the cause of their symptoms. Contact us today to book a private GP consultation.