Category Archives: Food Allergies

Food Allergy in Children: What Is True and What Is False

Food Allergy in Children: What Is True and What Is False

Food allergies are a major concern of many parents who believe that their child may have an allergy to everything. Their desire to protect their kid is understood, but it is important not to turn their worries into unreasonable fears. In reality, the risk of food allergies really exists, but it is not that high as many mothers and fathers think. We will try to clear things out by going through the main facts associated with food allergies.

Fact #1: If after eating some foods your child has a symptom, this is a food allergy

Real food allergies occur only in 6-8% of children, but parents tend to believe that every reaction to foods is a symptom of an allergy. In reality, these children may have food aversion, lactose intolerance or other causes that are not the symptoms of allergies.

Food allergies and food intolerances are not the same. Food allergies are related to a mediated reaction of the immune system, involving antibody IgE, which results in release of histamine by certain immune system cells. This is how most symptoms of a food allergy occur.

Fact #2: Food allergies can only be caused by certain foods

Well, in fact, only certain foods come with a higher risk of severe food allergies, but an allergic reaction in children can occur due to almost any food, including vegetables and fruits. The following foods are most likely to cause allergic reactions:

• Peanuts;
• Eggs;
• Soy;
• Milk;
• Fish;
• Nuts;
• Wheat;
• Shellfish.

Fact #3: Children cannot outgrow their food allergies

Children can outgrow their food allergies, but it really depends on the food causing it. Usually, it takes 2-3 years to eliminate allergies to certain foods. Over 85% of children outgrow their allergies to milk, but fewer kids outgrow their allergies to seafood, tree nuts or peanuts. Anyway, about 20% of children can outgrow an allergy to peanuts.

Fact #4: Food allergy to peanuts is the most common in children

Peanut allergies are associated with a high risk of anaphylaxis, but cow’s milk causes an allergic reaction more often in young children.

Fact #5: You have a food allergy if a blood allergy test shows positive antibody level

Some of the allergy tests like Immunocap RAST and RAST do not have “yes” or “no” answers. They show an antibody level, which ranges from low or very high. Children with low or moderate antibody levels may not have an allergy to those foods. Test results should be interpreted considering the symptoms that a kid has after eating certain foods. For instance, if RAST testing shows low antibodies levels for egg whites, but your kid eats eggs every day without any symptoms, he or she is unlikely to be allergic to eggs. Unfortunately, the results of these tests are often interpreted incorrectly, making you believe that your kid is allergic to everything.

Fact #6: Cooked food does not cause allergy

An allergic reaction is often caused by proteins, and some people think that cooked foods have altered protein, which can prevent this reaction. That is why some parents think that even if a child has an allergy to eggs, he or she can consume cooked products with eggs, such as cakes. According to the AAAAI, most foods can cause allergic reactions even if they are cooked, although some vegetables, fruit and other foods can only cause an allergy if they are eaten raw.

Fact #7: Although your kid has an allergy to food, he or she can eat it a little bit sometimes

Even if no reaction occurs after eating a small portion of food this time, it does not mean that severe reactions will not occur the next time. In order to outgrow a food allergy, it is important to avoid eating the product for several years. Otherwise, it decreases your kid’s chances to get rid of it over time.

Fact #8: Food allergies are not real

Food allergies do exist, and they can be dangerous. Some people are so allergic that it is just enough for them to touch food to experience an allergic reaction. Food allergies may be really serious, and that is why you should be serious about them, especially if it concerns your child.

Fact #9: It is not a problem to avoid eating foods causing allergy in your kid

It is easy to avoid eating such products as eggs or milk, but you should not forget that those foods can be used as ingredients in other foods. This means that each time before giving something to your kid, you should make sure that it does not contain foods that cause an allergic reaction in your child. Every time you should read food labels of processed foods, and if you have a meal at a restaurant, you should ask about the ingredients. It is also important to check that your kids will not consume forbidden products at school or at friend’s.

Fact #10: Food allergies are not serious

Allergic reactions can be fatal. About 150 people die annually from severe allergic reactions. The following are some known cases when a child or teenager with an allergy to peanuts could not survive the reactions:

• A child aged 9 years old ate a cookie on a school outing;
• A child aged 12 years old ate an egg roll;
• A teenager aged 18 ate a wrap;
• A teenager aged 17 ate a cookie at a friend’s home;
• A teenager aged 17 ate peanut butter in a camp;
• A child aged 14 ate an egg roll at a restaurant;
• A child aged 5 ate peanuts at home;
• A child aged 11 ate a candied apple at a carnival;
• A child aged 13 ate a wrap at a fast food restaurant;
• A teenager aged 16 ate a cookie at a friend’s home.

The following are some known cases when a child or teenager with an allergy to milk could not survive a severe allergic reaction:

• A teenager aged 16 ate bread at home;
• A child aged 9 drank milk in a camp;
• A teenager aged 17 drank a protein shake at home;
• A child aged 7 drank a chocolate mix drink at home;

These are just several cases that were reported. If your kid has an allergic reaction to certain foods, you should teach him or her how to avoid eating these foods and explain why. Also you should make sure that your child always has an EpiPen to manage a severe allergic reaction.

What Kinds of Tree Nut Allergies Are There?

What Kinds of Tree Nut Allergies Are There?

Tree nuts are popular foods that have lots of health benefits. Unfortunately, these foods come with a high risk of allergies. About 1 in 20 Americans have an allergic reaction after eating tree nuts. Although there are many different types of tree nuts, and all of them have high cross-reactivity, it does not mean that if you have an allergy to one tree nut, you will also get it to others. Peanuts are actually a legume, not a true nut, but still up to 50% of people who have peanut allergy also have it to one or more tree nuts.

Tree nut allergies have similar symptoms to other food allergies, but they tend to be more severe. If you have an allergic reaction after eating a tree nut, you may need to use injectable antihistamines and epinephrine. Only a small percentage of children can outgrow an allergy to tree nuts, and the chances of that are very small if it causes severe allergic reactions.

Tree Nuts That Cause Allergies Most Commonly

The following tree nuts cause allergies most often:

• Walnuts;
• Cashews;
• Almonds;
• Pistachios.

Walnuts, particularly English walnuts, are known for an ability to cause allergies. You may be allergic to walnut pollen, which causes symptoms of allergic rhinitis. If you have an allergy to walnuts, it does not mean that you will have it to other tree nuts. Walnut allergens have a similar structure to cashews, pecans, castor beans, cottonseed, mustard and

Brazil nuts, which means that if you have a walnut allergy, you should avoid eating those foods as well.

Cashews may also cause an allergy. Their oil can cause contact dermatitis, and it is similar to the oils found in poison oak and mangoes. Cashew allergens are similar to macadamia nuts, palm oil, soybeans, walnuts and peas. If you have an allergy to cashew or walnut, you may also have it to these foods.

Almonds are very popular in the USA, and they may also cause an allergy. They are often used when processing food and can be found in granola bars, breakfast cereals and baked goods. If you have an almond allergy, you may have it to other tree nuts, for instance, pistachios.

Pistachios may also cause an allergic reaction, and they are cross-reactive to mangoes and cashews. If the pollen from the Parietaria weed causes hay fever, you may have a pistachio allergy as well.

Tree Nuts That Cause Allergies Less Commonly

• Hazelnuts;
• Chestnuts;
• Pecans.

Allergies to hazelnut occur in Europe more often than in the USA. Hazelnut pollen may cause seasonal hay fever. If you have an allergy to hazelnut pollen, then you have a higher risk of having it to hazelnuts as well. These nuts are also related to birch pollen, so if you have an allergy to it, you may experience oral allergy symptoms like after eating hazelnuts. Hazelnuts have similar allergens to cashews, coconut, peanuts and soybeans, which means that you should avoid eating these foods if you have an allergy to hazelnuts.

Chestnuts have similar allergens to latex and avocado, and that is why you should avoid all of them if at least one causes an allergy. Also, if you have a chestnut allergy, you may also have it to apples, Mugwort pollen and peaches.

Pecans are often consumed in the southern US, but they are not that popular all over the world. About 1 in 10 people who have tree nut allergies will also have it to pecans. If you have an allergy to pecan, you may also have it to walnuts, because these nuts have similar allergens.

Tree Nuts That Cause Allergies Rarely

The following tree nuts cause allergies rarely:

• Pine nuts;
• Brazil nuts;
• Macadamia nuts;
• Coconut.

Although pine nuts are often consumed in southern Europe, they are not that popular in other countries. You should avoid eating pine nuts if you have a pine pollen allergy.

Brazil nuts are not that popular in the USA, and this may be the reason why allergies to these nuts are rarely met. Since genetically modified soybeans have proteins similar to Brazil nut allergen, there may be more allergies to this nut in the future. Be careful with walnuts if you have an allergy to Brazil nuts.

Macadamia nuts are usually consumed in Hawaii and the tropics. These nuts have cross-reactivity with cashews, so you should avoid eating both if you have an allergy to one of them.

Coconut allergies are considered to be the rarest, but these nuts have similar allergens to walnuts and hazelnuts.

Rare Food Allergies that Really Exist

Rare Food Allergies that Really Exist

According to the latest statistics, over 160 food products may cause allergies, and this means that many people react to foods that aren’t standard allergens.

Oral or pollen-food allergy syndrome is a medical condition where specific reactions occur in a throat and mouth from direct contracts with food in sensitized people who have respiratory allergies to such inhaled allergens as weed, tree and grass pollens. This kind of sensitivity to food and inhaled pollens is linked to the similarity of proteins that contain allergens, and it’s called cross-reactivity. Patients with oral allergy syndrome also have allergic reactions to any inhaled plant materials related to proteins in the foods that cause oral symptoms.

Cross-reactivity is documented between mug wort, grass, birch, ragweed and other pollens with a range of legumes, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, herbs, vegetables and spices. Its prevalence and patterns vary because of climatic and geographical conditions. Let’s discuss the most common foods associated with this condition below.

Citrus Allergy

There are different citrus fruits that may cause allergies, including grapefruits, lemons, oranges and limes. Allergic reactions may range from mild, such as an itchy mouth, to very severe, like anaphylaxis. There’s some cross-reactivity between citrus fruits, which means that allergies to one type increase a risk of reactions to others. Besides, birch, grass and other pollens may cross-react with them because of similar proteins.

Apple Allergy

It’s connected with oral allergy syndrome because about 50-80% of patients with allergic reactions to mug wort and birch pollens react to raw apples. Sensitive people often experience unwanted symptoms only within their mouth, and they’re evident within 5-30 minutes after eating specific foods. They usually resolve when people stop eating apples, and serious reactions are possible if throat swelling and breathing difficulty are involved.

Spice Allergy

Such spices as coriander, fennel, caraway and saffron, mustard, cinnamon and some others are associated with allergic reactions. They are some of the most common food allergens, and it seems that cross-reactivity to grass, birch and mug wort pollens are at fault.

Banana Allergy

Allergies to bananas vary, and they include such symptoms as hives, throat and mouth itching, wheezing, swelling and others. These signs are related to oral allergy syndrome, because most of them are localized in a mouth and start within a few minutes after eating bananas. If you have this allergy, you may also have reactions to natural rubber latex, because it’s manufactured from a rubber tree sap that contains similar proteins.

Celery Allergy

This food allergy is common, because celery is top allergen, and about 40% of patients with allergic reactions are sensitized to it. Cross-reactivity to grass, birch and other pollens is clearly identified.

Meat Allergy

This type of allergy is uncommon, but some people have reactions to pork, beef, goat and lamb. For example, red meat allergies to pork and beef are linked to tick bites. These reactions are usually delayed, and they occur a few hours after consuming red meat. The most common symptoms include vomiting, nausea, itching and diarrhea. Anaphylaxis is rare, and people who exercise after eating red meat have a higher risk. If you have allergies to one meat type, you’re most likely to develop reactions to others, including poultry. Small kids with allergies to milk are prone to being allergic to meat too. Delays between consuming meat and allergic symptoms make diagnosing a hard task.

Coconut Allergy

This allergic reaction is quite rare. Coconuts are not tree nuts, so most people with tree nut allergies can eat them with no problems. There are only a few patients with this allergy, but they exist.

Latex Allergy

When patients with allergies to latex eat foods that contain similar antigens, they develop allergic symptoms, and this condition is called latex-fruit syndrome. However, not all patients with latex reactions have this allergy. About 50-70% of people with it are also sensitized to other food products, especially fruits. So, cross-reactivity with bananas, avocados, kiwis, papayas, tomatoes, potatoes, turnips and other types of food is common. If patients with latex allergies have reactions to any specific food, they need to avoid it to prevent allergic reactions from occurring. If they have any doubts, it’s necessary to perform a special oral challenge test under doctor’s supervision to make everything clear.

Important Information You Should Know about Meat Allergy

Important Information You Should Know about Meat Allergy

About 2% of adults and 8% of children have food allergies. The following foods cause an allergic reaction in children most often:

• Cow’s milk;
• Peanuts;
• Hen’s eggs;
• Soy;
• Nuts;
• Shellfish;
• Fish;
• Wheat.

As for adults, they are often affected by an allergy to nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, vegetables and fruits, which results in the oral allergy syndrome. Moreover, a person can be allergic to any type of food.

Meat allergies are uncommon, probably, because usually this food is used cooked, thanks to which the proteins that cause allergic reactions are broken down by heat. In such a way an allergic antibody cannot recognize them, so the allergic reaction simply does not occur.

Anyway, it is also possible to have different allergic reactions to meat, which may occur within minutes of eating it, including the following:

• Wheezing;
• Angioedema;
• Urticarial;
• Nausea;
• Anaphylaxis;
• Vomiting;
• Diarrhea;
• Coughing.

Also, it is possible to have the following reactions:

• Eosinophilic esophagitis;
• FPIES;
• Reaction to carbohydrates contained in meat.

Allergic Reaction to Beef

Allergic reactions can occur after eating any kinds of meat, but most often this happens after consuming beef. Young children have a higher risk of beef allergy, especially those with eczema. Also, this allergy affects 20% of children with an allergy to cow’s milk. Moreover, up to 93% of people who suffer from beef allergy have an allergic reaction to cow’s milk as well. If you have beef allergy, you should note that you might also have an allergic reaction to beef gelatin, so you should be really careful with certain vaccines. You should always tell your healthcare provider if you have meat allergy before vaccination.

Allergic Reaction to Poultry

Poultry, such as turkey and chicken, can also cause an allergy, but it occurs not as often as an allergy to beef or pork. This can be explained by the fact that poultry is usually cooked very well, because the risk of food poisoning after eating undercooked poultry is pretty high. So, poultry is usually cooked more thoughtfully than pork or beef. Some people with egg allergy also have bird-egg syndrome, which is a respiratory allergy caused by feathers, for instance, asthma or allergic rhinitis. Even if you have this syndrome, it does not necessarily mean that you also have an allergy to poultry. Moreover, only a small percentage of people with this syndrome have an allergic reaction to chicken.

Allergic Reaction to Pork

Pork and wild boar meat can also cause allergic reactions. In particular, people with respiratory allergic reactions to cat albumin should be very carefully, because they have a higher risk of having an allergy to pork. This condition is called the pork-cat syndrome, because it occurs due to similar structures of pork albumin and cat albumin. If you have an allergy to Fel d 1, a protein of cats, you may have no allergic reactions to pork.

Allergic Reaction to Alpha-Gal

Mammalian meats (beef, lamb and pork) contain a carbohydrate called alpha-gal (galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose), which may cause severe allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to carbohydrate occur in 3-6 hours after consuming mammalian meat. Usually, symptoms of food allergies occur within the next 30 minutes, so this is one of the differences between alpha-gal allergy and meat allergy. An allergic reaction may occur suddenly, even in people who have never had such problems after eating meat before. Some studies suggest that this happens due to tick bites that increase the risk of allergic reaction to carbohydrate.

Usually people with alpha-gal allergy have negative results after testing allergy to extracts of pork, beef and lamb. A delayed reaction after eating the meat is one of the symptoms of this type of allergy. It can also be diagnosed through skin testing to cooked meat that is suspected to be the cause of an allergic reaction. A range of blood tests can also be used to check the presence of antibodies to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose.

Meat allergy is treated in the same way as other food allergies. If you have this meat allergy, consult your healthcare provider about it and the way it can be managed.

Allergy to Baby Formula

Allergy to Baby Formula

Babies who suffer from allergy to soy and/or milk don’t have enough available options what to consume when it comes to the choice of formula. Actually, there are three types of hypoallergenic baby formulas which would be helpful for infants who are at a risk of having an allergy or have got it already.

1. EHFs, or extensively hydrolyzed formulas, are based either on soy or milk protein broken down using a range of methods, such as using enzymes or heat. As a result, a well-tolerated and hypoallergenic formula is created which can be consumed by a number of babies suffering from allergy to soy and/or milk. However, allergic reactions are still possible, though they are quite rare. Among EHFs we can single out Similac Alimentum Advance, Nutramigen, Peptamen and Pregestimil.

2. PHFs, or partially hydrolyzed fromulas, are supposed to be easier to digest compared to conventional ones. They may prevent the development of allergic diseases, however, formulas of this type may be the cause of allergic reactions, thus, shouldn’t be considered hypoallergenic. Among PHFs are Enfamil Gentlease, Good Start and Carnation Good Start Soy.

3. EFs, or elemental formulas, are well-tolerated by infants and children with serious food allergies, including eosinophilic esophagitis. They are manufactured from free amino acids and used to delay or prevent the onset of atopic dermatitis and food allergy in kids who are at a high risk of developing allergies. Elecare, Nutramigen AA, Vivonex and Neocate can be found among EFs.

Cooking Oils Can Cause Allergies

Cooking Oils Can Cause Allergies

There are many hidden food allergens in prepared and processed foods, and they may lead to unexpected allergies. People use different vegetable oils to cook them, and many reports prove possible allergic reactions to them. They include sunflower seed, soybean, peanut, palm and corn oils. Most of them are highly refined, which means that these oils are processed to remove protein present in its crude form. It’s responsible for causing allergies, so refining reduces a possible chance of having this health problem considerably. However, some refined and crude cooking oils still contain proteins, which cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies.

Peanut Oil

Allergies to this oil are becoming more and more common, and they affect up to 2% of all people. Avoiding this product is quite hard, because peanut oil is a common hidden ingredient in many foods. It’s often used in food processing and cooking in its refined and crude forms.

The process of refining it eliminates peanut protein, but it’s still left in a small amount. Most people don’t have any problems if they eat less than 50 mg. This means that they need to consume liters of its crude type to end up with allergic reactions.

Soybean Oil

There is less information that you can find about allergic reactions to this oil, though there are many cases reported in medical studies about allergies to the foods and meds that contain it. Similar to peanut oil, it’s quite likely that crude soybean oil has more protein compared to its refined form. Soy is a common food allergy these days, and it mostly affects young children, while adults often outgrow this health problem. That’s why it’s hard to find many reports on food allergies to soybean oil.

Sunflower Seed Oil

Allergic reactions to this cooking oil aren’t so common, but there are many patients who have them. When it comes to available medical literature, you can find reports about people who experience allergies to sunflower seed oil. According to the study published 30 years ago, there was no allergic reaction to refined and crude sunflower seed oil in patients with anaphylaxis caused by eating sunflower seeds.

Sesame Seed Oil

Allergies to sesame are becoming more and more common. Just like peanut allergic reactions, people risk ending up with serious allergies caused by sesame. Basically, sesame seed oil is quite different from other cooking oils, and the main reason is that it’s used as flavoring for meals. That’s why this oil is often crude, so it contains a lot of unwanted sesame protein. Medical literature contains many reports on allergic reactions to this type of oil, so patients who have this health problem must do their best to avoid this food product.
Other Cooking Oils
You can find a range of other cooking oils available in the modern market, and they’re used by people in cooking meals. For instance, they include:
• Coconut;
• Canola;
• Corn;
• Palm;
• Safflower;
• Other oils.
It’s interesting that there’s only one report of allergies to coconut oil included in a baby formula, and it was published many years ago. There aren’t any other reports on possible allergic reactions to these cooking oils in medical literature. It’s quite likely that they are refined, so they contain only little or no protein that may cause allergies in modern consumers.

In conclusion, when people are allergic to certain food products from which any cooking oil is produced, including sunflower, soybean, peanut and some others, its crude form must be avoided. Based on the fact that refined cooking oils contain only little or no protein, it’s comparatively safe to consume them. When it comes to sesame seed oil, it’s the only cooking oil used by people to flavor foods. People with possible allergic reactions to it must avoid consuming this oil to prevent unwanted health problems.

How to Deal with Mango Allergy

How to Deal with Mango Allergy

Mango is extremely popular in the USA as well as other countries. It was cultivated in India several centuries ago, and today it is grown in various climates, including Mexico, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Spain and Australia. This fruit can be consumed in different forms, such as juices, jams, smoothies, etc. Not many people have an allergic reaction to this fruit, but it may occur in three different ways.


Anaphylactic Reaction to Mango

Anaphylactic reaction to mango is a severe condition caused by the IgE antibody that requires urgent medical help. Symptoms of anaphylactic reaction occur right away after eating a mango. The following are typical symptoms of anaphylaxis:

  • Chest tightness;
  • Urticarial;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Wheezing;
  • Angioedema, etc.

Anaphylactic reaction to mango and other products is treated in the same way. Severe reactions to this fruit can be diagnosed with the help of blood or skin tests. In the USA, a “prick-prick” method is used, when a special device is pushed into a fresh fruit and then applied to the skin. The result will be seen in about 20 minutes. Positive reaction will occur in the form of a wheal and redness.

People with such a severe reaction to eating mango should avoid consuming this fruit. It is important to remember that mango can be used in different products like fruit smoothies, and it is also possible to consume products that have the same cross-reactivity as mango, which means that injectable epinephrine should always be available in case of occurrence of this allergic reaction.

Skin Reaction to Mango

Contact dermatitis is another reaction that you may experience after eating a mango. It usually occurs on the face within several hours after eating the fruit and may last for several days. You can find itchy blisters on your skin that may peel within the next several days. Such reaction is not caused by IgE antibodies, but by CD4+ T cells (white blood cells) as a reaction to some chemicals in mango peel or other parts of the fruit. Urushiol is one of those chemicals that may cause contact dermatitis, and it is also present in a range of plants, including poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac. So, if you have contact dermatitis to mango, you should also avoid contacting these plants.

Although contact dermatitis is not life-threatening or dangerous to health, it does make people feel uncomfortable. This reaction to mango is treated with systemic or topical corticosteroids, which depends on its severity. Usually, there is no need to perform any tests to diagnose this reaction if a person contacts a healthcare provider who will be able to observe the reaction on his/her face. At the same time, your doctor may recommend you to perform patch testing, which means that a piece of fruit will be applied to your skin. This is a fast and painless procedure that allows gathering more information about the problem.

OAS to Mangoes

OAS stands for oral allergy syndrome, which is an allergic reaction activated by IgE (the same as anaphylaxis) with mild symptoms, including burning, itching and fullness of the mouth. It typically occurs instantly after eating a mango, and it takes only several minutes to stop the reaction if the right treatment is used. It is possible that OAS develops into anaphylaxis, but this happens rarely. In most cases, mango protein causing an allergy is broken down by the saliva of a person, and all the symptoms of an allergy occur only in the mouth.
It is also possible to experience OAS due to similarities between mango proteins and latex protein or pollens. Pollen allergy allows suspecting that a person is likely to have an allergic reaction to tree or weed pollen. OAS symptoms may also occur due to latex allergy after eating a mango.

OAS to mango may be diagnosed clinically if a person who has an allergy to pollen or latex starts experiencing OAS symptoms after consuming a mango. Additionally, a “prick-prick” method can be used for diagnosis of this condition.
Although OAS usually does not lead to any severe consequences, people with this allergic reaction are recommended to avoid eating mango. There is a 10% possibility that OAS may develop into anaphylaxis, which should be avoided by all means.

Is It Possible to Eat Baked Products with Eggs If You Have an Allergy to Them?

Is It Possible to Eat Baked Products with Eggs If You Have an Allergy to Them?

Can You Consume Eggs in Baked Products?

Even if you have an allergy to eggs, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot eat baked goods containing eggs. There have been lots of cases when people with severe allergic reactions could eat baked products with eggs without any problems, such as muffins and cakes. It is also known that people with an allergy to raw foods are able to eat those products if they are thoughtfully processed or cooked. At the same time, there are plenty of people who have an allergic reaction even after consuming a thoroughly cooked egg. There have been several studies conducted on this topic, and now we have more information about the problem.

How Does Egg Allergy Occur?

An egg allergy occurs when IgE (antibody) recognizes egg proteins as antigens, which leads to activation of the immune system. The severity of the reaction depends on how your immune system responds to it. Most commonly, egg allergy occurs in children, and most of them are able to outgrow it by adolescence.
You can use two ways to check if you have an allergy to eggs in baked products. The first one is eating an egg and having an allergic reaction to it, and another one is through OFC, a special feeding test that allows you to increase the consumption of the product under the supervision of your allergist.
People with the allergy are recommended to avoid eating eggs, learn and use methods for desensitizing and preventing an anaphylactic reaction. It is also possible to use vaccination, which allows many people to eliminate an allergic reaction over time.

Using Eggs in Baked Products

There was a study conducted in 2008 on whether people with egg allergy could consume baked products containing eggs, for instance, muffins. It has shown that about 70% of people with an allergy could eat those foods without problems (this does not include eggs cooked in a usual manner, like scrambled eggs). It is explained by the fact that egg proteins are destroyed in higher temperatures, so that antibodies cannot recognize them.

Another interesting fact is that people who consume baked food containing eggs are able to decrease their sensitivity to this product over time, which has been proven by skin and blood tests. Many other studies have also been conducted, proving that eating baked food with eggs allows desensitizing an allergic reaction to this product.
How to Find out That You Can Consume Baked Eggs with No Problems?
Unfortunately, it is not easy to check if you belong to those people with an allergy to eggs who can eat baked foods containing these products with no problems. Using skin tests is not a reliable way to find it out. You should consult your allergist about that and consider using OFC.
How to Desensitize an Allergy to Eggs
Eating baked products with eggs is considered to be one of the ways of desensitization. If you believe that this method is suitable for you, you should discuss it with your allergist. Researchers are investigating if oral immunotherapy can be an alternative to allergy injections as well. Perhaps, this method will be extensively used in the future.

What Tests Can You Use?

Skin testing is not helpful in determining if baked products with eggs will cause an allergic reaction or not. Basically, the only way to find out if they will cause the reaction is to consume them, which should be done very carefully and according to a desensitization plan. Also, you may have a history of allergic reactions to baked products containing eggs, which also allows you to know how you are going to react to them.

Conclusion

So, if you have an allergic reaction to eggs, you should avoid eating foods with eggs without consulting your healthcare provider. It is recommended to perform OFC under the supervision of your doctor, which will allow you to consume certain foods and check whether eggs in baked products will cause an allergy. You can also discuss certain desensitization options with your allergist.

Allergy to Stevia

Allergy to Stevia

Most people like their coffee or tea sweet, so nowadays there are so many choices of artificial and natural sweeteners. However, have you ever wondered if any people do have an allergy after their consumption?

In 2015 the US researchers published an article about stevia which is the newest sweetener obtained from the plant called Stevia rebaudiana and is popular for its 100% natural characteristics and low-calorie features. Moreover, in 2014 Pepsi and Coca-Cola incorporated stevia mixture along with sugar into their drinks replacing the corn syrup full of fructose. So since stevia is now found in a wide variety of drinks and food products, it is natural people have questions about its safety, and whether consumption of stevia may cause any allergic reactions.

Basic Information about Stevia

Stevia rebaudiana originates from South America and is part of the Asteraceae family, used as a medicine and food product for many years. The all-natural and popular sweetener that is used in a number of foods is obtained from the plant’s leaves being highly purified.

Does Stevia Cause Allergy?

Most plants that belong to the Asteraceae family do cause allergic reactions, including contact dermatitis, respiratory conditions from exposure to pollen and food allergy from consuming the products made from the plant. Since stevia belongs to a group of plants famous for its allergic properties, it may cause certain unpleasant reactions in people who are prone to having allergies or are already suffering from them.

Though specialists advise not to use stevia in such cases, there is too little proof to support the statement that stevia causes allergies in people allergic to plants from the Asteraceae family. Highly purified forms of stevia aren’t likely to contain antigens and allergens, that’s why these may be the crude extracts from stevia leaves that have a high chance of provoking allergic reactions in those people who are allergic to Asteraceae plants.

In the medical literature there is only one case which has the evidence that stevia is responsible for allergic reactions. In 2007, a Japanese researcher noted about two babies who resulted in anaphylaxis after eating products containing stevia: one drank water mixed with stevia powder and the other one chewed on stevia leaves. Both of them suffered from atopic dermatitis. Later the researcher made stevia skin tests on 200 babies and came to a conclusion that there was high percentage of positive skin tests in those children with asthma and atopic dermatitis.

Should Stevia-Containing Foods Be Avoided?

Still it isn’t known whether people allergic to Asteraceae plants have a higher chance of experiencing allergic reactions to highly purified stevia forms. However, it would be better for them to avoid crude stevia plant extracts, e.g. those sold in health food stores or contained in dietary supplements.

Symptoms and Treatment of Fish Allergy

Symptoms and Treatment of Fish Allergy

Seafood is an important food of the American diet, representing a healthy source of protein. But fish also can cause illness through allergic and non-allergic reactions. In the USA, allergic reactions to fish occur in 1 in 250 adults and 1 in 1,000 children.

Allergy to fish often develops in childhood, but it also happens that, for the first time, the disease appears in an adult when first eating a previously unknown fish meal.

Fish and Seafood Allergy Causes

Allergy to fish is provoked by a special protein – parvalbumin, its introduction into the body leads to the development of a specific immune response. Gelatin is another important allergen that is shared among species of fish.

The allergy can be caused not only due to the fish meat itself but also due to its roe and even scale and mucus, this is why, even in the case of the external contact with river and marine products, symptoms of the disease begin to manifest.

The allergenic protein does not break down under any kind of treatment, so it does not matter in what form the fish is consumed – dried, cooked, fried or smoked. In any case, with intolerance to a particular kind of fish product, the disease inevitably develops. Quite often the signs of reaction appear when the protein is inhaled during cooking.

Fish Allergy Symptoms

Allergies to fish can manifest themselves as respiratory and skin signs. In response to the introduction of an allergen, conjunctivitis can be triggered  and overall well-being worsens.

The most typical signs of an allergic reaction to fish products include:

  • The appearance of blisters on the abdomen, back, neck, hips, upper half of the chest;
  • Facial, eye swelling;
  • Severe itching of the skin;
  • Burning tongue, burning mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. The burning sensation can appear at once as soon as a piece of fish has got into a mouth;
  • Deterioration of digestion – nausea, vomiting, loose, loose stools;
  • Increased temperature, headache.
  • As well, fish can cause anaphylactic shock, accompanied by rapid heart rate, severe weakness, falling blood pressure, pale skin, fainting. In this condition, a person urgently needs medical care and use of special medicines for allergies.

The fish allergy remains almost for life, and therefore a person who has suffered from the fish allergic reaction or fish intolerance should always pay attention to the choice of products in shops, restaurants, and cafes.

A Little Statistics

The greatest number of allergies is registered for red fish varieties, herring, for crawfish, crabs, mollusks, and lobsters. Among the river fish, the catfish and eel, some cancers are the most allergenic ones.

Most people have an intolerance of one or two varieties of fish, while others use them without visible signs of intolerance. This is because some fish species contain only fragments of muscle protein that do not cause a specific immune response.

Fish Allergy Treatment

The fish allergy diagnosis can be performed when a person has experienced allergic symptoms after eating fish and the diagnosis is confirmed if a person has as a positive allergy test to fish (skin test and blood test). A skin test is the best method to confirm the diagnosis, although blood test has the advantage of measuring the amount of allergic antibody against fish. Detecting the allergen will help you in the compilation of a daily diet and therefore prevent the development of a severe allergic reaction to fish.

  • Allergy to fish does not develop if you completely eliminate fish from the diet.
  • It should be remembered that you need not only to exclude the product itself from the diet, but also to avoid eating the following dishes:
  • Oil from fish;
  • Caviar;
  • Surimi;
  • Sushi;
  • Seafood – shrimp and anchovies;
  • Fish cutlets, soups, sauces.
  • You need to pay attention to the process of cooking. Often the oil used for frying fish is used to prepare other foods, which also leads to an allergic reaction.
  • You need to be interested in what oil or sauce was used for second courses or salads. Fish flavors are often one of the components of dressings.
  • When buying products in stores, you need to carefully read their composition.

If you see that the food contains:

  • Disodium inosine;
  • Agar;
  • Agaricic acid;
  • Alginate or fish flavor.

Then you should know that this product is not for you.

  • If you suspect a development of fish allergy, you should stop eating immediately, rinse your mouth.
  • It is advisable to take an antihistamine drug and gastrointestinal adsorbent, which will help to quickly neutralize the toxins that have got into the body.

With a balanced diet, allergy manifestations are less common, as do small physical exertions, yoga, and autogenic training.