It seems allergic reactions to common foods and products have become more prevalent in the current generation. Whether this is simply because there are more ways to share information and incidence levels or allergies are truly becoming worse is not certain. But it is certain that an allergic reaction, even a minor one can be terrifying.
Allergic reactions can range from a runny nose and scratchy throat to an instant swelling that impairs breathing. These reactions can quickly lead to death. Mild symptoms of an allergic reaction typically include hives, eczema, itchy mouth and ears, nausea, stomach pain, sneezing, and coughing. However, severe reactions could include swelling of the tongue, lips, or throat. They restrict breathing or cause shortness of breath, blood pressure drops, chest pain, weak pulse, or loss of consciousness. These symptoms require immediate treatment. One such treatment is the use of an Epi-Pen, but this is just until medical attention can be gained.
What the most common food allergens?
Common food allergens can include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, and fish (or shellfish). These groups account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions related to food. Someone with allergies to more than one group may need to be highly cautious when eating out or even preparing food at home as hidden ingredients could be potentially life-threatening.
If someone believes that they have allergies then a trip to a specialist may be necessary. A specialist can complete a scratch test for many common allergens in which small scratches are placed on the skin and a reaction is then assessed. Some reactions will show immediately, but slight reactions may take several days to reveal. The doctors will then treat and prescribe a special diet or medication to stop or prevent reactions.
Though an allergic reaction is scary, having common sense, staying calm, and calling for help immediately for more severe reactions is the key to getting through the event. Plan ahead if you know allergies are present as accidental contact with allergens is always possible. If you have young children with allergies, make sure teachers or parents of friends know how to handle an allergic reaction. Allergies do not need to mean that life comes to a standstill, just that adjustments may need to be made to stay safe.