Tag Archives: Anaphylaxis

Epilobium hirsutum

 

Botanical Name:Epilobium hirsutum
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Species: E. hirsutum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Common Names: Great willowherb, Great hairy willowherb or hairy willowherb. Local names include Codlins-and-cream, Apple-pie and Cherry-pie.

Habitat : Epilobium hirsutum is native to Eurasia, where it is found in moist waste ground of the Mediterranean region, Europe, Asia, and Africa.It is absent from much of Scandinavia and north-west Scotland. It has been introduced to North America and Australia.  Common habitats include marshland, ditches and the banks of rivers and streams. It is widespread, often forming large, long-lived colonies in England, Wales, and Ireland. In Scotland it is confined to the east coast. Intolerant of shade, hairy willow-herb is found in damp and waste places to elevations of 2500 meters (8100 feet).It grows on the stream banks, marshes, drier parts of fens etc, to 360 metres.

Description:
It is a tall, perennial plant, reaching up to 2 metres in height. The robust stems are branched and have numerous hairs. The hairy leaves are 2-12 cm long and 0.5-3.5 cm wide. They are long and thin and are widest below the middle. They have sharply-toothed edges and no stalk. The large flowers have four notched petals. These are purple-pink and are usually 10-16 mm long. The stigma is white and has four lobes. The sepals are green.

click to see the pictures…>…...(01)........(1).…(2)..…..(3).….…(4)....(5)..

It flowers from June to September, with a peak in July and August. The flowers are normally pollinated by bees and hoverflies. A number of insects feed on the leaves including the elephant hawkmoth, Deilephila elpenor.

Edible Uses: Tea..…..The leaves are used to make a tea. This is often drunk in Russia, where it is called ‘kaporie tea’. The leaves are also sometimes sucked for their salty taste. Edible leaves. No more details are given in the report but caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves of Epilobium hirsutum have been used as astringents, but there are some reports of violent poisoning with epileptic-like convulsions as a result of its use. This remedy has been discarded by professional herbalists as the use of the leaves has been associated with poisonings and convulsions.

Known Hazards : One report says that the plant might be poisonous. Another says that it causes epileptiform convulsions

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilobium_hirsutum
http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/hairy-willowherb.aspx
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epilobium+hirsutum

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Ear Health

Waxy ears:
One of the most common complaints seen by GPs is a blocked ear, usually caused by wax that has been pushed into the ear by a cotton bud.
click to see the picture
As well as the blocked sensation, waxy ears can reduce hearing, cause a ringing sound (tinnitus) and, occasionally, pain.
click to see
There’s no need to clean your ears with a cotton bud. The ear has its own internal cleaning mechanism. Fats and oils in the ear canal trap any particles and transport them out of the ear as wax. This falls out of the ear without us noticing.

When we try to clean the ear, this wax gets pushed back and compacted. There’s also no need to dry ears with a towel, cotton buds or tissue paper. Let them dry naturally or gently use a hair-drier on low heat.

Olive oil can help to soften the wax and enable it to come out. Apply two drops in each ear twice a day. Wax-softening drops can also be bought from a pharmacist.

Sometimes, the wax needs to be syringed out by a GP or practice nurse.

 

Itchy ears:-
These can be irritating, and when ears are affected with eczema or psoriasis they can cause constant discomfort. But scratching or poking damages the ear’s sensitive lining, allowing infection in, called otitis externa.

click to see the picture

The immune system normally responds to harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins by producing symptoms such as runny nose and congestion, post-nasal drip and sore throat, and itchy ears and eyes. An allergic reaction can produce the same symptoms in response to substances that are generally harmless, like dust, dander or pollen. The sensitized immune system produces antibodies to these allergens, which cause chemicals called histamines to be released into the bloodstream, causing itching, swelling of affected tissues, mucus production, hives, rashes, and other symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person.

This can also happen when ears gets waterlogged through swimming. The ear canal swells, becoming narrow and painful. Hearing becomes a problem and discharge often appears.

Treatment requires antibiotic drops and strong painkillers. In severe cases, the ear needs to be cleaned by an ear specialist.

 

Piercing:-
Anything that damages the skin can allow infection in. This is often the case with ear piercing, especially when the skin isn’t cared for properly during or after the piercing. Follow care advice carefully.
click to see the picture
Many people are allergic to certain inexpensive metals, such as nickel, which can make the outside of the ear swell and feel uncomfortable.

 

 

 

Sunburn:-
The tops of the ears are exposed to the sun and sensitive to its harmful UV rays. Skin cancer affects ears, too.

Make sure you apply suncream and wear a hat that keeps your ears in the shade.

You may click to see :Herbal Remedies For Ear Infections

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

 

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/ears1.shtml
http://www.qualityhealth.com/health-encyclopedia/multimedia/foreign-object-ear
http://www.urgentcarect.com/Services.aspx
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/01/health/adam/19316Allergysymptoms.html
http://thebeautybrains.com/2009/11/15/what-should-i-do-about-my-ear-infection/

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Anaphylax

 

ALTERNATIVE NAMES:  Anaphylactic reaction; Anaphylactic shock; Shock – anaphylactic

DEFINITION:
Anaphylaxis is an acute multi-system severe type I hypersensitivity reaction. The term comes from the Greek words ava ana (against) and  phylaxis (protection).It is  a life-threatening type of allergic reaction and it can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to, such as the venom from a bee sting or a peanut.

The flood of chemicals released by your immune system during anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock; your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking normal breathing. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include a rapid, weak pulse, a skin rash, and nausea and vomiting. Common triggers of anaphylaxis include certain foods, some medications, insect venom and latex.

.CLICK & SEE

Due in part to the variety of definitions, between 1% and 15% of the population of the United States can be considered “at risk” for having an anaphylactic reaction if they are exposed to one or more allergens. Of those people who actually experience anaphylaxis, up to 1% may die as a result. Anaphylaxis results in approximately 1,500 deaths per year in the U.S. In England, mortality rates for anaphylaxis have been reported as up to 0.05 per 100,000 population, or around 10-20 a year. Anaphylactic reactions requiring hospital treatment appear to be increasing, with authorities in England reporting a threefold increase between 1994 and 2004.

Based on the pathophysiology, anaphylaxis can be divided into “true anaphylaxis” and “pseudo-anaphylaxis” or “anaphylactoid reaction.” The symptoms, treatment, and risk of death are the same; however, “true” anaphylaxis is caused by degranulation of mast cells or basophils mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE), and pseudo-anaphylaxis occurs without IgE mediation.

Classification:
Biphasic anaphylaxis:..CLICK & SEE
Biphasic anaphylaxis is the recurrence of symptoms within 72 hours with no further exposure to the allergen. It occurs in between 1–20% of cases depending on the study examined. It is managed in the same manner as anaphylaxis.

Anaphylactic shock:...CLICK & SEE
Anaphylactic shock is anaphylaxis associated with systemic vasodilation which results in low blood pressure. It is also associated with severe bronchoconstriction to the point where the individual is unable to breathe.

Pseudoanaphylaxis:….CLICK & SEE
The presentation and treatment of pseudoanaphylaxis is similar to that of anaphylaxis. It however does not involve an allergic reaction but is due to direct mast cell degranulation. This can result from morphine, radiocontrast, aspirin and muscle relaxants.[11]

Active anaphylaxis:….CLICK & SEE
Active anaphylaxis is what is naturally observed. Two weeks or so after an animal, including humans, is exposed to certain allergens, active anaphylaxis (which is simply called “anaphylaxis”) would be elicited upon exposure to the same allergens.

Passive anaphylaxis:....CLICK & SEE
Passive anaphylaxis is induced in native animals which receive transfer of the serum experimentally from sensitized animals with certain allergens. Passive anaphylaxis would be provoked in the recipient animals after exposure to the same allergens.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS :
Anaphylaxis can present with many different symptoms due to the systemic effects of histamine release. These usually develop over minutes to hours.[9] The most common areas affected include: skin (80% to 90%), respiratory (70%), gastrointestinal (30% to 45%), heart and vasculature (10% to 45%), and central nervous system (10% to 15%).

Skin:
Skin involvement may include generalized hives, itchiness, flushing, and swelling of the lips, tongue or throat….

Respiratory:
Respiratory symptoms may include shortness of breath, wheezes or stridor, and low oxygen.

Gastrointestinal:

Gastrointestinal symptoms may include crampy abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Cardiovascular:
Due to the presence of histamine releasing cells in the heart, coronary artery spasm may occur with subsequent myocardial infarction or dysrhythmia.

Nervous sys:

temA drop in blood pressure may result in a feeling of lightheadedness and loss of consciousness. There may be a loss of bladder control and muscle tone, and a feeling of anxiety and “impending doom”.

CAUSES:
Anaphylaxis can occur in response to any allergen. Common triggers include insect bites or stings, foods, medication and latex rubber

Tissues in different parts of the body release histamine and other substances. This causes the airways to tighten and leads to other symptoms.

Some drugs (morphine, x-ray dye, and others) may cause an anaphylactic-like reaction (anaphylactoid reaction) when people are first exposed to them. Aspirin may also cause a reaction. These reactions are not the same as the immune system response that occurs with “true” anaphylaxis. However, the symptoms, risk for complications, and treatment are the same for both types of reactions.

Anaphylaxis can occur in response to any allergen. Common causes include:

•Drug allergies :Any medication may potentially trigger anaphylaxis. The most common to do so include antibiotics (?-lactam antibiotics in particular), aspirin, ibuprofen, and other analgesics. Some drugs (polymyxin, morphine, x-ray contrast and others) may cause an “anaphylactoid” reaction (anaphylactic-like reaction) on the first exposure. This is usually due to a toxic reaction, rather than the immune system mechanism that occurs with “true” anaphylaxis. The symptoms, risk for complications without treatment, and treatment are the same, however, for both types of reactions. Some vaccinations are also known to cause “anaphylactoid” reactions....CLICK & SEE

•Food allergies :The most common are peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, milk, and egg. Severe cases are usually the result of ingesting the allergen…...CLICK & SEE

•Insect bites/stings : Venom from stinging or biting insects such as Hymenoptera or Hemiptera may induce anaphylaxis in susceptible people…..CLICK & SEE

Pollens and other inhaled allergens rarely cause anaphylaxis. Some people have an anaphylactic reaction with no known cause…..CLICK & SEE

Less common causes of anaphylaxis include:

*Latex
*Muscle relaxants used during general anesthesia
*Exercise

Anaphylaxis triggered by exercise varies from person to person. In some people, aerobic activity, such as jogging, triggers anaphylaxis. In others, less intense physical activity, such as walking, can trigger a reaction. Eating certain foods before exercise or exercising when the weather is hot, cold or humid has also been linked to anaphylaxis in some people. Talk with your doctor about any precautions you should take when exercising.

Anaphylaxis symptoms are sometimes caused by aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, Midol Extended Relief) — and the intravenous (IV) contrast used in some X-ray imaging tests. Although similar to allergy-induced anaphylaxis, this type of reaction isn’t triggered by allergy antibodies.

If you don’t know what triggers your allergy attack, your doctor may do tests to try to identify the offending allergen. In some cases, the cause of anaphylaxis is never identified. This is known as idiopathic anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and can occur at any time. Risks include a history of any type of allergic reaction.

DIAGNOSIS:
Anaphylaxis is diagnosed with high likelihood based on clinical criteria. These criteria are fulfilled when any one of the following three is true:[14]

1.Symptom onset within minutes to several hours of allergen exposure with involvement of the skin or mucosal tissue and any of the following: hives, itchiness, or swelling of the airway; plus either respiratory difficulty or a low blood pressure.

2.Any two or more of the following symptoms within minutes to several hours of allergen exposure: a. Involvement of the skin or mucosa b. Respiratory difficulties c. Low blood pressure d. Gastrointestinal symptoms

3.Low blood pressure within minutes to several hours after exposure to known allergen

Apart from its clinical features, blood tests for tryptase (released from mast cells) might be useful in diagnosing anaphylaxis.

Allergy testing may help in determining what triggered the anaphylaxis. In this setting, skin allergy testing (with or without patch testing) or RAST blood tests can sometimes identify the cause.

TREATMENT :
Anaphylaxis is an emergency condition requiring immediate professional medical attention. Call 911 immediately.

Check the person’s airway, breathing, and circulation (the ABC’s of Basic Life Support). A warning sign of dangerous throat swelling is a very hoarse or whispered voice, or coarse sounds when the person is breathing in air. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.

1.Call 911.
2.Calm and reassure the person.
3.If the allergic reaction is from a bee sting, scrape the stinger off the skin with something firm (such as a fingernail or plastic credit card). Do not use tweezers — squeezing the stinger will release more venom.
4.If the person has emergency allergy medication on hand, help the person take or inject the medication. Avoid oral medication if the person is having difficulty breathing.
5.Take steps to prevent shock. Have the person lie flat, raise the person’s feet about 12 inches, and cover him or her with a coat or blanket. Do NOT place the person in this position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected, or if it causes discomfort.

PROVIDING FIRST AID:
Although emergency medical help is essential, there are things that must be done to improve survival chances. If the person affected is conscious and having breathing difficulties, help them sit up. If they’re shocked with low blood pressure, they’re better off lying flat with their legs raised.

If the person is unconscious, check their airways and breathing, and put them in the recovery position.

If you know that the person is susceptible to anaphylaxis, ask if they carry a preloaded adrenaline syringe. If necessary, help the person inject it into their thigh muscle.  If available, antihistamines and steroids should also be given.

DO NOT:
•Do NOT assume that any allergy shots the person has already received will provide complete protection.
•Do NOT place a pillow under the person’s head if he or she is having trouble breathing. This can block the airways.
•Do NOT give the person anything by mouth if the person is having trouble breathing.
Paramedics or physicians may place a tube through the nose or mouth into the airways (endotracheal intubation) or perform emergency surgery to place a tube directly into the trachea (tracheostomy or cricothyrotomy).

The person may receive antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, and corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to further reduce symptoms (after lifesaving measures and epinephrine are given).

You may click to see :

Natural Allergy Relief For Oak Pollen

Anaphylactic reactions in children – a questionnaire-based survey in Germany

PROGNOSIS:
Anaphylaxis is a severe disorder that can be life-threatening without prompt treatment. However, symptoms usually get better with the right therapy, so it is important to act right away.

Possible Complications:
•Airway blockage
•Cardiac arrest (no effective heartbeat)
•Respiratory arrest (no breathing)
•Shock

RISK FACTORS:

There aren’t many known risk factors for anaphylaxis, but some things that may increase your risk include:

*A personal history of anaphylaxis. If you’ve experienced anaphylaxis once, your risk of having this serious reaction is increased. Future reactions may be more severe than the first reaction.

*Allergies or asthma. People who have either condition are at increased risk of having anaphylaxis.

*A family history.
If you have family members who have experienced exercised-induced anaphylaxis, your risk of developing this type of anaphylaxis is higher than it is for someone without a family history.

PREVENTION:
Immunotherapy with Hymenoptera venoms is effective against allergies to bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, white faced hornets, and fire ants.

The greatest success with prevention of anaphylaxis has been the use of allergy injections to prevent recurrence of sting allergy. The risk to an individual from a particular species of insect depends on complex interactions between likelihood of human contact, insect aggression, efficiency of the venom delivery apparatus, and venom allergenicity. Venom immunotherapy reduces risk of systemic reactions below 3%.[citation needed] One simple method of venom extraction has been electrical stimulation to obtain venom, instead of dissecting the venom sac.

A potential vaccine has been developed to prevent anaphylaxis due to peanut and tree nut allergies if they are exposed to a small amount of peanuts or nuts. Although it shows some promise to reduce the likelihood of anaphylaxis in affected individuals, the vaccine has not yet been approved for marketing and distribution. Desensitization techniques are also being studied for peanut allergies.

•Avoid triggers such as foods and medications that have caused an allergic reaction (even a mild one) in the past. Ask detailed questions about ingredients when you are eating away from home. Also carefully examine ingredient labels.

•If you have a child who is allergic to certain foods, introduce one new food at a time in small amounts so you can recognize an allergic reaction.

•People who know that they have had serious allergic reactions should wear a medical ID tag.

•If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, carry emergency medications (such as a chewable form of diphenhydramine and injectable epinephrine or a bee sting kit) according to your health care provider’s instructions.

•Do not use your injectable epinephrine on anyone else. They may have a condition (such as a heart problem) that could be negatively affected by this drug.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000844.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anaphylaxis/DS00009
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/allergies/allergicconditions_anaphylaxis.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphylaxis
http://www.bailey-law.com/files/anaphylaxis.html
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Anaphylaxis

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Sometimes We are Allergic to Some Food

Sometimes, the food we eat leads to allergies, which are serious and dangerous. At the same time, highly restrictive diets can be tough on people.

For instance, there is food colouring even in some cheeses and gluten in soy sauce. They can also be unhealthy. To avoid malnutrition, fatigue or low bone density, doctors recommend people who start removing ingredients from their diets consult a nutritionist for advice.

What’s   food allergy ?
It is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system. Allergic reactions to food can sometimes cause serious illness and death. The FDA estimates that two per cent of adults and up to eight per cent of young children have some form of food allergies. Childhood allergies are a common and growing problem. Sometimes, a reaction to food is not an allergy. It is often called “food intolerance”.

The exact reason behind the rise of allergies is unknown. But evidence suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is at the root of most allergies. Hence, it is advisable that a single new food should be introduced to a child rather than multiple new options.

“Food allergy symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening and may include, hives, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or eyes, diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps, itching and tightness of throat, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock,” says Dr Richa Anand, dietician, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai.

In case you feel that you may be allergic to a certain food:
* Eliminate the food that you suspect from your diet and check if the reactions stop.
* Challenge the food by consuming it and check for adverse reactions.
* Do a skin allergy test.

Ensure that any of the above options are done after consulting a doctor. Also, once the allergic food has been found, make sure that the same is eliminated from your diet.

Some common food allergies :-

In adults, the most common foods to cause allergic reactions include: shellfish such as shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crab; peanuts, a legume that is one of the chief foods to cause severe anaphylaxis, a sudden drop in blood pressure that can be fatal if not treated quickly; tree nuts such as walnuts; fish; and eggs.

In children, the pattern is somewhat different. The most common food allergens that cause problems in children are eggs, milk, and peanuts. Adults usually do not lose their allergies, but children can sometimes outgrow them. Children are more likely to outgrow allergies to milk or soy than allergies to peanuts, fish, or shrimp.
Peanuts: are the main source of severe allergic reactions. Peanut allergies can be so extreme that just being in the same room with one can cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock. Peanuts are found in so many items, as frying oils, flavoured nuts, etc.

Shellfish/fish: Allergy to shellfish is quite common and a number of different types of shellfish can cause reactions in people who are sensitive. For example, shrimps, prawns, lobster, crab, crayfish, oysters, scallops, mussels and clams. People who are allergic to one type of shellfish often find that they react to other types. Adults are more likely to have an allergic reaction to fish and shellfish than children, which is probably because adults will have eaten these foods more often. Shellfish allergy can often cause severe reactions, and some people can react to the vapours from cooking shellfish. Cooking doesn’t destroy fish allergens. In fact, some people with fish allergy can be allergic to cooked but not raw fish.

Milk: Lactose is a sugar found naturally in milk. It’s important to distinguish between lactose intolerance and milk allergy, because milk allergy can cause severe reactions. Lactose intolerance is actually an enzymatic problem where the enzyme lactase cannot split the milk protein lactose into glucose and galactose. This leads to digestive system pain more often than swollen or clogged airways. Milk products are obviously in and ice-cream, but can also appear in sauces and as butter on steaks and other meats. Adults with lactose intolerance can often have a small amount of milk without getting any symptoms.

Eggs: Egg allergy is more common in childhood and about half the children who have it will grow out of it by the age of three. In a few cases, egg allergy can cause anaphylaxis. Cooking can destroy some of these allergens, but not others. So some people might react to cooked eggs, as well as raw eggs. Occasionally, someone might react to egg because they have an allergy to chicken, quail or turkey meat, or to bird feathers. This is called bird-egg syndrome. Also, those with egg allergies should avoid most pastas and foamy products, as egg is occasionally used as a stabiliser for coffee foams, among others.

Soy: allergies are probably most difficult for vegetarians, as it is often used as a protein alternative in things such as tofu. One has to be especially careful about food cooked in soyabean oil or Chinese food cooked using soya sauce. It can also be found in peanut butters, soups, infant formulas, etc.

Wheat: For those with celiac, anything containing gluten, including wheat, can lead to adverse reactions. However, for those with wheat allergies, only wheat makes a person react. Wheat is often used as a stabiliser in everything — from soups to biscuits — and it can be difficult to dodge. People with wheat allergies need to abstain from everything — from wheat breads to soy sauce with wheat.

Resources:

The Times Of India & Allergy related internet sites

Food Allergy

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Definition:
Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis

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Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3, and about 4 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older. It’s easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.

Food allergy is distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacologic reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.

Food allergy :Adverse immune response to a food protein

Pharmacologic: Caffeine tremors, cheese/wine (tyramine) migraine, scombroid (histamine) fish poisoning

Toxins:Bacterial food poisoning, staphylotoxin

Intolerance: lactose intolerance (lactase deficiency)

The food protein triggering the allergic response is termed a food allergen. It is estimated that up to 12 million Americans have food allergies, and the prevalence is rising. Six to eight percent of children under the age of three have food allergies and nearly four percent of adults have them. Food allergies cause roughly 30,000 emergency room visits and 100 to 200 deaths per year in the United States. The most common food allergies in adults are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and eggs, and the most common food allergies in children are milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Treatment consists of avoidance diets, in which the allergic person avoids all forms of the food to which they are allergic. For people who are extremely sensitive, this may involve the total avoidance of any exposure with the allergen, including touching or inhaling the problematic food as well as touching any surfaces that may have come into contact with it. Areas of research include anti-IgE antibody (omalizumab, or Xolair) and specific oral tolerance induction (SOTI), which have shown some promise for treatment of certain food allergies. People diagnosed with a food allergy may carry an autoinjector of epinephrine such as an EpiPen or Twinject, wear some form of medical alert jewelry, or develop an emergency action plan, in accordance with their doctor.

Signs and symptoms:
Classic immunoglobulin-E (IgE)-mediated food allergies are classified as type-I immediate hypersensitivity reactions. These allergic reactions have an acute onset (from seconds to one hour) and may include:

*Angioedema: soft tissue swelling, usually involving the eyelids, face, lips, and tongue. Angioedema may result in severe swelling of the tongue as well as the larynx (voice box) and trachea, resulting in upper airway obstruction and difficulty breathing.

*Hives

*Itching of the mouth, throat, eyes, skin

*Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and/or abdominal pain. This group of symptoms is termed gastrointestinal hypersensitivity or anaphylaxis.

*Rhinorrhea, nasal congestion

*Wheezing, scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or difficulty swallowing

*Anaphylaxis: a severe, whole-body allergic reaction that can result in death (see below)

The reaction may progress to anaphylactic shock: A systemic reaction involving several different bodily systems including hypotension (low blood pressure),loss of consciousness, and possibly death. Allergens most frequently associated with this type of reaction are peanuts, nuts, milk, egg, and seafood, though many food allergens have been reported as triggers for anaphylaxis.

Food allergy is thought to develop more easily in patients with the atopic syndrome, a very common combination of diseases: allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, eczema and asthma.[8] The syndrome has a strong inherited component; a family history of allergic diseases can be indicative of the atopic syndrome.

Conditions caused by food allergies are classified into 3 groups according to the mechanism of the allergic response:

1. IgE-mediated (classic):

Type-I immediate hypersensitivity reaction (symptoms described above)
Oral allergy syndrome
2. IgE and/or non-IgE-mediated:

*Allergic eosinophilic esophagitis
*Allergic eosinophilic gastritis
*Allergic eosinophilic gastroenteritis

3. Non-IgE mediated:

*Food protein-induced Enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)

*Food protein proctocolitis/proctitis

*Food protein-induced enteropathy. An important example is Coeliac disease, which is an adverse immune response to the protein gluten.

*Milk-soy protein intolerance (MSPI) is a non-medical term used to describe a non-IgE mediated allergic response to milk and/or soy protein during infancy and early childhood. Symptoms of MSPI are usually attributable to food protein proctocolitis or FPIES.

*Heiner syndrome – lung disease due to formation of milk protein/IgG antibody immune complexes (milk precipitins) in the blood stream after it is absorbed from the GI tract. The lung disease commonly causes bleeding into the lungs and results in pulmonary hemosiderosis.

Pathophysiology:-
For more details on this topic, see allergy.
Generally, introduction of allergens through the digestive tract is thought to induce immune tolerance. In individuals who are predisposed to developing allergies (atopic syndrome), the immune system produces IgE antibodies against protein epitopes on non-pathogenic substances, including dietary components.[citation needed] The IgE molecules are coated onto mast cells, which inhabit the mucosal lining of the digestive tract.

Upon ingesting an allergen, the IgE reacts with its protein epitopes and release (degranulate) a number of chemicals (including histamine), which lead to oedema of the intestinal wall, loss of fluid and altered motility. The product is diarrhea.

Any food allergy has the potential to cause a fatal reaction
.

Causes:-
The immune system’s Eosinophils, once activated in a histamine reaction, will register any foreign proteins they see. One theory regarding the causes of food allergies focuses on proteins presented in the blood along with vaccines, which are designed to provoke an immune response. Influenza vaccines and the Yellow Fever vaccine are still egg-based, but the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine stopped using eggs in 1994. However large scientific studies do not support this theory, especially as it applies to autoimmune disease.

Another theory focuses on whether an infant’s immune system is ready for complex proteins in a new food when it is first introduced.

One hypothesis at this time is the Hygiene hypothesis. While there is no proof for the hygiene hypothesis, people speculate that in modern, industrialized nations, such as the United States, food allergies are more common due to the lack of early exposure to dirt and germs, in part due to the over use of antibiotics and antibiotic cleansers. This hypothesis is based partly on studies showing less allergy in third world countries. Some research suggests[citation needed] that the body, with less dirt and germs to fight off, turns on itself and attacks food proteins as if they were foreign invaders.

Antibiotics have also been implicated in Leaky Gut Syndrome which is another possible cause of food allergies

A lower incidence of food allergies in the developing world could also be due to differences in diet from the West and less exposure to food allergens.

Others have found that food allergies are due to widespread usage of baby skin care products that contain allergens, such as lotions based upon peanut’s oil. These skin care products are cheaper to manufacture than non-allergenic ones and using them sensitizes the baby, which later develops into a food allergy. This theory has yet to come with sufficient explanation as to why occurrence of allergies are on a steady rise in the last two decades.

Prevention:-
According to a report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “There is evidence that breastfeeding for at least 4 months, compared with feeding infants formula made with intact cow milk protein, prevents or delays the occurrence of atopic dermatitis, cow milk allergy, and wheezing in early childhood.”[23]

Treatment:-
The mainstay of treatment for food allergy is avoidance of the foods that have been identified as allergens.

If the food is accidentally ingested and a systemic reaction occurs, then epinephrine (best delivered with an autoinjector of epinephrine such as an Epipen or Twinject) should be used. It is possible that a second dose of epinephrine may be required for severe reactions. The patient should also seek medical care immediately.

At this time, there is no cure for food allergies. There are no allergy desensitization or allergy “shots” available for food allergies. Some doctors feel they do not work in food allergies because even minute amounts of the food in question or even food extracts (as in the case of allergy shots) can cause an allergic response in many sufferers.

Ronald van Ree of Amsterdam University expects that vaccines can in theory be created using genetic engineering to cure allergies. If this can be done, food allergies could be eradicated in about ten years.
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Statistics:-
For reasons that are not entirely understood, the diagnosis of food allergies has apparently become more common in Western nations in recent times. In the United States food allergy affects as many as 5% of infants less than three years of age and 3% to 4% of adults. There is a similar prevalence in Canada.

The most common food allergens include peanuts, milk, eggs, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat – these foods account for about 90% of all allergic reactions.

Differing views:-
Various medical practitioners have a differing views on food allergies. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) patients have been studied with regards to food allergies. Some studies have reported on the role of food allergy in IBS; only one epidemiological study on functional dyspepsia and food allergy has been published. However, since 2005 several studies have demonstrated strong correlation between IgG and/or IgE food allergy and IBS symptoms The mechanisms by which food activates mucosal immune system are incompletely understood, but food specific IgE and IgG4 appeared to mediate the hypersensitivity reaction in a subgroup of IBS patients. Specific chemicals and receptors have been demonstrated to be critical in food allergy development in murine models. Exclusion diets based on skin prick test, RAST for IgE or IgG4, hypoallergic diet and clinical trials with oral disodium cromoglycate have been conducted, and some success has been reported in a subset of IBS patients.

Studies comparing skin prick testing and ELISA blood testing have found that the results of skin prick testing correlate poorly with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome that correlate with food allergies demonstrated through ELISA testing and dietary challenge.

Extensive clinical experience has demonstrated significant improvement of patients with IBS whose ELISA-based food allergy testing is positive and where treatment includes a careful exclusion diet.

In addition, many practitioners of alternative medicine ascribe symptoms to food allergy where other doctors do not. The causal relationships between some of these conditions and food allergies have not been studied extensively enough to provide sufficient evidence to become authoritative. The interaction of histamine with the nervous system receptors has been demonstrated, but more study is needed.[36] Other immune response effects are commonly known (swelling, irritation, etc.), but their relationships to some conditions has not been extensively studied. Examples are arthritis, fatigue, headaches, and hyperactivity. Nevertheless, hypoallergenic diets reportedly can be of benefit in these conditions, indicating that the current medical views on food allergy may be too narrow. Holford and Brady (2005) suggest three levels of response; classical immediate-onset allergy (IgE), delayed-onset allergy (giving a positive response on an ELISA IgG test but rarely on an IgE skin prick test), and food intolerance (non-allergic), and claim the last two to be more common. It is important to note that IgG is present in the body and is known to respond to foods. So some medical practitioners, especially allergists, claim that there is no predictive value to these types of tests, despite the studies cited above.

In children:-
Milk and soy allergies in children can often go undiagnosed for many months, causing much worry for parents and health risks for infants and children. Many infants with milk and soy allergies can show signs of colic, blood in the stool, mucous in the stool, reflux, rashes and other harmful medical conditions. These conditions are often misdiagnosed as viruses or colic.

Some children who are allergic to cow’s milk protein also show a cross sensitivity to soy-based products.[ There are infant formulas in which the milk and soy proteins are degraded so when taken by an infant, their immune system does not recognize the allergen and they can safely consume the product. Hypoallergenic infant formulas can be based on hydrolyzed proteins, which are proteins partially predigested in a less antigenic form. Other formulas, based on free amino acids, are the least antigenic and provide complete nutrition support in severe forms of milk allergy.

Seventy-fice percent of children who have allergies to milk protein are able to tolerate baked-in milk products, ie., muffins, cookies, cake.

About 50% of children with allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat will outgrow their allergy by the age of 6. Those that don’t, and those that are still allergic by the age of 12 or so, have less than an 8% chance of outgrowing the allergy.

Peanut and tree nut allergies are less likely to be outgrown, although evidence now shows[40] that about 20% of those with peanut allergies and 9% of those with tree nut allergies will outgrow their allergies. In such a case, they need to consume nuts in some regular fashion to maintain the non-allergic status.[citation needed] This should be discussed with a doctor.

Those with other food allergies may or may not outgrow their allergies.

Labeling laws
In response to the risk that certain foods pose to those with food allergies, countries have responded by instituting labeling laws that require food products to clearly inform consumers if their products contain major allergens or by-products of major allergens.

United States law
Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-282), companies are required to disclose on the label whether the product contains a major food allergen in clear, plain language. The allergens have to clearly be called out in the ingredient statement. Most companies list allergens in a statement separate from the ingredient statement

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_allergy
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/DS00082/DSECTION=symptoms

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