What is food allergy?
Food allergy is the reaction of people to some foods which are otherwise tolerated by the vast majority. The occurrence of food allergy is quite common in Western countries and could be increasing in India. Food allergy leads a wide range of symptoms from mild reactions to severe life threatening reactions.
What causes food allergy?
When a person eats a food he is allergic to, the body reacts to the protein in the food. Allergic reactions are immune mediated i.e. mediated by the body’s defence system. Once activated, the immune cells release several chemicals including histamine which can cause allergic reactions.
What are the common foods causing allergy?
Although food allergy could be caused by any food, there are few common foods responsible for allergy in the vast majority of people in the world. These include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soya. However, in India some local foods can also cause allergy.
How do we recognize the symptoms of food allergy?
The symptoms depend upon the body systems involved. The systems commonly involved include the skin, intestines and the lungs. The symptoms can therefore include itching, skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, cough, breathlessness etc.
How can we diagnose food allergy?
The diagnosis of food allergy is based on a detailed history supported by investigations. Once food allergy is suspected by a detailed history, the diagnosis is confirmed by investigations including skin prick tests and blood tests.
How can we treat food allergy?
The current management of food allergies involves avoiding the relevant food. In case the food is accidentally ingested, appropriate treatment should be started to minimize the symptoms. In children, when foods are eliminated for suspected allergy, it is important to ensure that the child receives nutrition supplements.
ABOUT THE DOCTOR:
Dr. Srinivas Jakka,
Consultant Paediatrician, pulmonology and allergy specialist
MD (Paediatrics), MRCPCH (UK), diploma in allergy (UK)
Dr. Srinivas Jakka is an experienced Paediatrician, Pulmonologist and Allergy Specialist. He completed his training in India and world renowned hospitals in UK. He has vast experience in the management of children with complex paediatric problems, asthma, complex respiratory diseases and allergies.
About The Hospital
Ankura is a chain of Children’s Hospital in Hyderabad. Set up in the year 2011 in KPHB, near Hitech Railway Station, the Ankura Hospitals family has today spread its wings to Secunderabad, Khammam and Vijayawada.