Food Allergy Week runs from 17-23 May 2015 with the purpose of raising awareness of food allergies and how they affect the people around you. According to Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, one in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop a food allergy.
An allergic reaction to food happens when the body mistakes a food protein for a harmful substance, causing the immune system to go into overdrive. Reactions can range from mild to a severe life-threatening situation. Severe reactions are referred to as anaphylaxis and require immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of a food allergy can include:
- swelling of the tongue, lips, eyes and face
- abdominal pain and swelling
- breathing difficulty
- hives or skin rash
- dizziness or feeling faint
Symptoms will usually be apparent within two hours, and often they will appear within minutes. Some of the more common food allergens are known as the ‘Big 8’ allergenic foods. These are milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
Desensitisation or allergen immunotherapy is a treatment method that can be used to reduce severity of allergies. However at this stage it is not widely used for food allergies. Therefore the only course of action is avoidance.
The risks of having a food allergy can be managed though. One of the first steps is to book in for an allergy test. This can help to determine any suspected allergies and appropriate medication can be prescribed to treat reactions.
We have a registered nurse dedicated to conducting all allergy testing within our clinics. We use the Skin Prick testing method and this can be followed up with blood tests and an assessment of medical history. A medicare rebate applies. A doctor’s appointment is required immediately after the test to check for any allergic reactions and children …