Researchers are discovering connections between the development of a food allergy and other factors.
A new study published in the November 2023 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests that diet, genetics and infections may play a role in the development of food allergies in both children and adults.
The study surveyed over 40,000 adults and children with documented food allergies and asked them what factors they observed before they developed reactions to foods. Researchers found that nearly 19% of adult participants believed their food allergy was due to eating too much allergenic food, while 16% believed their food allergies were related to genetics and family history. Another 12% noted food allergies after taking antibiotics.
In young people, about 25% of parents and caregivers associated the child’s development of a food allergy with a viral infection.
The study authors say these findings require further research, but they suggest that infections, changes in the environment and hormonal changes could all play a role in the development of food allergies.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends parents introduce certain allergenic foods early in life to prevent food allergies. The ACAAI also says that understanding potential triggers for the development of food allergy is critical in new-onset allergies in adults.
Which foods are most likely to cause an allergic reaction?
According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), there are over 170 different ones Food can cause allergic reactions. Of which eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, and sesame are responsible for most serious food allergies in the United States.S.
FARE also says food allergies are increasing, The prevalence of the disease in American children has increased by 50% since 1997.
Symptoms of an allergy
Allergy symptoms can vary depending on the type of allergy and the severity of the reaction. The most common allergy symptoms include:
- Skin: Itching, hives, rash, eczema, swelling
- Respiratory tract: Sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath
- Digestive: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain
- Eyes: Watery, red or itchy eyes, swelling around the eyes
In severe cases, an allergic reaction can lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Swelling of the throat, tongue and lips
- Difficulty breathing
- Hoarse voice
- Dizziness or fainting
- Fast heart rate
- Drop in blood pressure
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Here are some specific examples of how allergy symptoms can manifest themselves differently depending on the type of allergy:
- Food allergy: Food allergy symptoms may appear immediately after eating the allergenic food or may be delayed for several hours. Common symptoms of food allergy include itching, hives, rash, eczema, swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, and anaphylaxis.
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis): Hay fever symptoms typically occur when the person is exposed to pollen, dust mites, or other airborne allergens. Common symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, wheezing, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes.
- Asthma: Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that can be triggered by allergies. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
- Eczema: Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can be caused by allergies, but can also be triggered by other factors such as dry skin, irritants and stress. Symptoms of eczema include dry, itchy skin, rash, Blow, and cracked or thickened skin.