There are many types of food allergies and many variations on treatments. Some can simply involve avoiding the relevant foods and others require specialized medical intervention. However, the three main forms of treatment include dietary changes, treating severe reactions and treating the varied symptoms.
Dietary changes as a treatment for food allergies is one of the most commonly used methods. Generally, once the allergen or food has been identified that cause the allergic reactions, doctors work with dieticians to establish a daily diet by finding either alternatives to the offending foods or completely changing a person’s diet all together. The first step means that the person has to learn to read food ingredient labels, including asking anyone who makes food for them outside of their homes if the ingredients include the foods that they are allergic to. In some cases, it is easy to avoid such foods, but in other cases, this is harder than one might think. Some foods might be less obvious offenders and may contain the allergens or might be processed in the same containers or areas as the allergens. Some food ingredients are also found in nutritional supplements and medicines. The hardest part for many allergy sufferers is if they have an allergy to a food that is not so easily removed – grains with gluten and oils (i.e. Olive, sunflower, canola, soy, etc.) – as such many convenience foods might also have to be avoided. It is sometimes necessary to learn how to cook from scratch and use specialized recipes.
Treating Severe Food Allergy Reactions
Anaphylactic or severe/life-threatening allergic reactions require major medical intervention and for the person to carry around an ‘EpiPen’ containing an epinephrine injection for use as soon as they or someone they are with becomes aware of their reaction. In fact, such severe reactions can happen so quickly that the medicine must be injected into the thigh or other body part as instructed by a doctor immediately. Thereafter the person must be taken by ambulance to an emergency room for further care. At the hospital, the person might need further antihistamines and even medicine to counteract the effects of the combined medicines. Under no circumstances should the person be made to wait for emergency care, to see if the reaction will get worse or under the assumption that the ‘EpiPen’ will not have side effects. A common effect of epinephrine is an increased heart rate.
Treating Food Allergy Symptoms
Food allergy symptoms can run the gauntlet of runny noses to intense gut cramps with plenty of gas. For many, using over the counter antihistamines works well to alleviate most common allergy symptoms, some of which are not much different to other forms of allergic reactions. However, some people can develop asthma as a response to certain foods and may require bronchodilators or puffers to help them breathe and avoid asthma attacks. However, most often, doctors recommend combining dietary changes and preventative medications versus treating the symptoms as they occur. Usually, spot treatments after the fact are not as effective as prevention, though no medicines exist to completely prevent allergy symptoms.
Managing Food Allergies
Managing food allergies might involve one of the three treatment methods mentioned. Most of the time it is possible to avoid offending foods and live normally, but even with dietary changes, there are no guarantees that accidentally contamination of foods cannot happen. For those with severe reactions, life is about constantly being aware and making others aware of the risks of them eating certain food allergens. Between the combined efforts of doctors and food allergy sufferers, it is possible to manage food allergies and have a pretty good life and not go without too much.