Velocity Care provides you with vital information on food allergies and how to keep your family safe
It seems food allergies are becoming much more common. Avoiding the triggers and knowing the symptoms of an allergic reaction are important in keeping our families safe.
Velocity Care wants you to be prepared if you or a member of your family has an allergic reaction to food.
What causes a food allergy?
Our immune system is very important in keeping our bodies safe from the invasion of harmful viruses and bacteria. When the body identifies an intruder, it begins to release antibodies into the bloodstream to fight off the infection, and these antibodies enlist the help of another chemical called histamine. Histamine is the substance that is responsible for producing the common allergy symptoms of swelling, itching, hives, rashes and an increase in nasal mucus production, which causes sniffling and sneezing. Sometimes, however, our bodies mistakenly identify proteins in certain foods as being a threat, even though they are completely harmless to most of us. Those with a food allergy will experience an increase in antibody and histamine production and, therefore, some or all of the allergy symptoms when they eat a specific food.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
The symptoms experienced will vary depending on the person and the severity of his or her allergy. Some people will have very mild reactions, while for others, the consumption of certain foods may cause a reaction that is life-threatening if not treated quickly. Common food allergy symptoms include:
- Rashes/hives/skin itching.
- Nasal congestion.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Itching/swelling/tingling of the mouth, tongue, lips or throat.
- Swelling of the face, throat, lips, hands or other body parts.
What is an anaphylactic reaction?
An anaphylactic reaction is a very severe allergic reaction. When exposed to the allergic trigger, the body begins to produce enormous amounts of histamine and other chemicals. This reaction occurs quickly and is extremely dangerous. Someone experiencing anaphylaxis may have swelling of the throat or airways, making it difficult to breathe. He or she may also have a rapid pulse or a drop in blood pressure, which could lead to a loss of consciousness. Immediate medical attention is required. If left untreated, anaphylaxis could result in death.
Which foods commonly cause allergic reactions?
Any food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, but the most common allergy causing foods are:
- Tree nuts.
What treatment options are available?
The best method of treatment is to prevent a food allergy from occurring altogether. Foods that have caused allergic reactions in the past should be completely avoided. Even if the reaction was mild in the past, it doesn’t mean that it will always remain mild. Often a reaction may become more severe after several exposures to the trigger.
If a food allergy does occur, a visit to your nearest Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center is the best course of action. One of our doctors will be able to test for food allergies and prescribe a topical remedy to help with skin rashes or an oral medication to relieve itching and other systemic symptoms. Depending on the severity of your reaction, our doctors may recommend that you carry an epinephrine injection device with you at all times in the event you begin to suffer an anaphylactic reaction. If you fear that you or a loved one may be suffering from anaphylaxis, proceed to your nearest urgent care clinic immediately. To find the Velocity Care walk-in clinic location that is closest to you, visit www.velocitycare.com/locations today.
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