Food Reactions – inc. Anaphylaxis
About 20% of the population will experience reactions to food; some will have a food allergy whilst others are food intolerant.
Many sufferers resort to limited diets that are not appropriate for their underlying problem and these can be detrimental to both their health and well-being.
Symptoms of Food Allergy
These include hives/nettle rash (urticaria) anywhere on the body, swelling of lips, face and tongue (angio-oedema), abdominal pain and vomiting, throat tightness/discomfort, difficulty breathing and in severe cases collapse (anaphylaxis). Onset of these symptoms is often within minutes of food exposure and nearly always within 1 hour. Although the reactions develop rapidly they normally settle within 24 hours.
A distinct form of food allergy called the ‘oral allergy syndrome’ consists of intense itching in the mouth whilst eating certain uncooked fruits such as apples, peaches, plums and cherries. This usually occurs in individuals that have allergic rhinitis (springtime hay fever) caused by tree pollen allergy.
Symptoms of Food Intolerance
These include abdominal pain, bloating and distension, nausea, diarrhoea and can be associated with symptoms of tiredness/lethargy and headaches.
There are specific intolerances associated with certain food types, for example Chinese food, milk, wheat, chocolate, cheeses and wines. These require full investigation to reveal triggers for the symptoms that can lead to helpful dietary and lifestyle changes.