Food Allergy. Miriam O’Callaghan and Alex Coogan 4 Pearl Ms Cooney. What is a food allergy. A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. These allergies occur when the body mistakenly identifies a food protein as harmful.
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Food Allergy Miriam O’Callaghan and Alex Coogan 4 Pearl Ms Cooney
What is a food allergy • A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. • These allergies occur when the body mistakenly identifies a food protein as harmful. • The immune system thinks it is under attack and sends white blood cells to attack, this triggers the allergic reaction.
Most common allergy's • Nuts • Milk / Dairy products • Shellfish • Eggs • Seafood • Soy
Diagnosis – Skin Prick Test • For skin prick tests, a tiny board with protruding needles is used. • The allergens are placed either on the board or directly on the skin. The board is then placed on the skin, in order to puncture the skin and for the allergens to enter the body. • If a hive appears, the person will be considered positive for the allergy. • This test only works for IgE antibodies. Allergic reactions caused by other antibodies cannot be detected through skin prick tests
Diagnosis – Blood Testing • Blood testing is another way to test for allergies; however, it poses the same disadvantage and only detects IgE allergens and does not work for every possible allergen. • RAST, Radio Allergo Sorbent Test, is used to detect IgE antibodies present to a certain allergen. • The score taken from the RAST test is compared to predictive values, taken from a specific type of RAST test. • If the score is higher than the predictive values, there is a great chance the allergy is present in the person. One advantage of this test is that it can test many allergens at one time
Diagnosis – Food Challenge Test • Food challenges test are used to test for allergens other than those caused by IgE allergens. • The allergen is given to the person in the form of a pill, so the person can ingest the allergen directly. • The person is watched for signs and symptoms. The problem with food challenges is that they must be performed in the hospital under careful watch, due to the possibility of anaphylaxis.
What can happen? • The reactions can range from a mild rash to a sever life threatening anaphylactic response. • If the person has an anaphylactic response their airways begin to close and they become unable to breathe. • People who have sever reactions usually carry an injectable form of epinephrine such as an EpiPen. This will help to reopen their airways.
Mild Symptoms / Reactions • Depending on the severity of their allergy peoples symptoms or reactions can varey. • These can range from hives, itching or swelling of the mouth lips tongue or face, difficulty swallowing, neausa or difficulty breathing. • Some sever reactions can affect the respiratory tract or blood stream.
Sever Symptoms / Reactions • Anaphylactic shock is when circulation is affected and breathing is impaired. • During anaphylactic shock the airway tightens making it increasingly difficult for the person to breathe. • Those who have sever allergic reactions carry an imjectable form of epinephrine to help reopen their arways.
Treatment - Epinrphrine • Epinephrine (adrenaline)is a common medication used to treat allergic reactions. • Epinephrine reverses the allergic reaction by improving blood circulation. This is done by tightening blood vessels in order to increase the heart beat and circulation to bodily organs. Epinephrine is produced naturally in the body. • When a person is presented with a dangerous situation, epinephrine is taken to trigger the adrenal gland to release adrenaline; this gives the person an increased heart rate and more energy to try to fight off the danger being imposed on the individual. • Epinephrine is also prescribed by doctors in a self-injectable form. This is what anepi-pen is.
Treatment - Antihistamines • Antihistamines block the action of histamine, which causes blood vessels to dilate and become leaky to plasma proteins. • Histamine also causes itchiness by acting on sensory nerve terminals. The most common antihistamine given for food allergies is diphenhydramine, also known as Benedryl. • Antihistamines relieve symptoms. When it comes to dealing with anaphylaxis they can not completely improve the dangerous symptoms that affect breathing.
Treatment - Steroids • Steroids are used to calm down the immune system cells that are attacked by the chemicals released during an allergic reaction. • This form of treatment in the form of a nasal spray can’t t be used to treat anaphylaxis, due to the long amount of time it takes to reduce inflammation and start to work. • Steroids can also be taken orally or through injection. By taking a steroid in these manners, every part of the body can be reached and treated, but a long time is usually needed for these to take effect