More than 20 million people in the u-s live with food allergies, but did you know around 150 to 200 people die annually from them?
Food allergies are a type of immune system reaction that typically occurs right after eating a certain food.
some reactions can be mild… such as slight swelling of the lips or even small hives… while others can be extremely serious…resulting in difficulty breathing, which is also known as anaphylaxis.
“So anaphylaxis has a wide range of definitions depending on who you ask. Typically it is a known exposure to a known trigger and then one or more of the following symptoms follow… so hives, swelling, respiratory symptoms, gagging, can’t breathe, can’t talk, and swelling of the throat, or wheezing, so asthma kind of symptoms, then vomiting and nausea. These symptoms typically happen within a few minutes of exposure,” said Dr. Aisha Mohammed.
That’s why getting tested by doctors like Dr. Aisha Mohammad, is important and can save a life.
“So in children, they’re not typically tested until the age of two because we want them to gain really good exposure, so that they can have a really robust response, which is something we can then detect on a skin prick test, which is the most reliable…we put the antigens on the back or hand and look for a response. which is very different from a blood test which would give us all the positives, versus a skin prick which gives us clinically relevant positives,” said the allergist.
The most common food allergies are related to milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, and eggs, and she says once you’re diagnosed you want to stay away from them.
“If there is accidental exposure to something that could lead to anaphylactic reaction. Then the one and only first-line treatment is an EpiPen, and nothing else but an EpiPen..and there are real true anaphylaxis patients who are being given steroids and antihistamines, but that’s not first-line defense. the only real true first-line treatment is an EpiPen.”
She says it’s very unlikely for someone to outgrow an allergy, so listening to your body, getting tested, and knowing what effects it is key.
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