Food allergies are reactions of the immune system caused by the consumption of a specific food. The reactions may vary and generally they are related to an alteration in the digestive system such as vomiting or diarrhea, however, foods can also cause allergy if they are in contact with the skin or after respiratory exposure. In the first case they may cause dermatitis and urticaria, among others, while in the second they can cause problems related to the respiratory system, such as asthma or rhinitis.
There are many and varied foods that produce allergy, including eggs, seafood, milk, nuts, fruits, soy and fish. Allergic reactions usually present the first manifestations in the two hours following the consumption of the food, although the most frequent symptoms appear in the first 30 minutes. In addition, external factors such as taking steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, performing physical exercise or drinking alcohol may aggravate reactions. The manifestations can be cutaneous, where the patients usually present hives; Rhinitis, reactions in the oral mucosa and in the pharynx. They also usually manifest at the digestive level, where the symptoms may be diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea.
There is confusion between a food allergy and food tolerance. It is true that they share certain similarities and in general terms they create harmful effects in the organism when some foods are ingested, but they are not equal. Allergies are caused by an impaired immune response to food, while intolerance does not interfere with the immune system. The main causes of intolerance are usually provoked by alterations in the digestion or metabolism of specific foods.
Food allergies are caused by a failure in immune tolerance and factors such as the genetic inheritance, the conditions of the intestinal mucosa, age and the amount that certain types of food has been consumed. In circumstances where tolerance fails, the immune system produces an IgE antibody response to food.
Unfortunately there is no formula to prevent food allergies, the recommendation is to avoid the consumption of the food allergen.