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The 8 Most Common Food Allergies

Common Food Allergy #8: Soy

Soy is most frequently a childhood allergy, but it can last into adulthood. In some cases, it will appear in adults, but this is rare.

People who are already allergic to environmental factors such as pollen and mold spores, or who have skin conditions like eczema, are most apt to have a soy allergy. Mouth itching and hives on the skin represent the maximum allergic reaction in most soy cases. However, dangerous anaphylaxis can occur in a few people.

As with most allergies, the best way to deal with this problem is to not eat products that contain soy.

Common Food Allergy #7: Certain Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Raw fruits and vegetables are frequent causers of food allergies, though the reaction is almost universally mild.

Usually, it does not go beyond mouth itching right after eating certain raw fruits or vegetables, and only happens when other allergies are present (for example, in hay fever season). Cooking the fruits or vegetables usually removes the effect.

Common Food Allergy #6: Sesame

Sesame seeds and sesame oils (which are used both foods and cosmetics) can cause skin irritation, an itchy or swollen mouth, asthma, a stuffy or runny nose, and sometimes potentially deadly anaphylaxis. Peanut and tree nut allergies are also likely in people who have a sesame allergy.

Common Food Allergy #5: Gluten

Gluten (wheat) holds a notable place among the most common food allergies. A bloated stomach, cramps, diarrhea, and general itching of the skin (sometimes with hives) are all symptomatic. Avoiding all baked goods made with wheat and sticking to those made with rice flour is the best alternative for eliminating gluten allergy’s impact on your life.

Common Food Allergy #4: Fish

Fish allergies tend to be severe and are triggered by any kind of fish once they appear.

They inflict a laundry list of symptoms, including:

  • stomach cramps,
  • swollen eyes,
  • itching skin,
  • dizziness,
  • diarrhea,
  • heartburn,
  • breathing difficulties,
  • flatulence,
  • and a stuffy nose.

The exact combination of symptoms can vary, and can turn dangerous (anaphylaxis). Fortunately, fish allergies usually subside after several years. Tuna and mackerel are less likely to trigger a food allergy.

Common Food Allergy #3: Tree Nuts

Tree nuts trigger an allergic reaction in relatively few people. But lethal reactions are much more common than with most food allergies.

Walnuts, cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts are some of the culprits here. This is different from a peanut allergy: peanuts are not nuts. An itching throat, sneezing, swollen skin, watering eyes, a runny nose, and rashes or hives are all the usual symptoms. This allergy, once it develops, is life-long. The best method of dealing with it is avoidance.

Common Food Allergy #2: Peanuts

Peanuts are used everywhere in the U.S. since they’re cheap and easy. Many people are allergic to them, however, and can get symptoms ranging from a few small hives to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

The best way to cope with a peanut allergy, which is second among most common food allergies, is by not eating them.

Common Food Allergy #1: Shellfish

Among the most common food allergies, shellfish holds first place by a large margin. Crabs, shrimp, lobsters, and octopus can also trigger a reaction in sensitive people.

This type of allergy is also the most persistent of adult food allergies. Four times out of five, a shellfish allergy never leaves once it has developed.

Nasal congestion is a major symptom, as are itchy hives.

There is a risk of anaphylaxis, however, which requires hospitalization in many cases, and can kill. Some people only have an allergy to specific shellfish species, while others are unable to eat any.

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-BS Pharm, PharmD, RPh

Dr. Paul Zickler is a graduate of the University of Wester Ontario in 1972. After graduating from the faculty of medicine, Dr. Zickler practiced as an Emergency Physician for 18 years. He has then operated ambulatory medical and travel clinics for 12 years. Dr. Zickler has become an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of British Columbia, a Director of Professional Programs for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (paramedic academy), a principal investigator for Phase 2 and 3 studies researching vaccines, and a founding member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. Dr. Zickler is passionate about combining western prescription medicine and natural medicines.

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