May is officially marked as the Mental Health Awareness Month, but also as the Food Allergy Action Month. During this month, the government, doctors, and researchers all around the U.S are raising awareness of the health issues linked to poor mental health and the various food allergies. That is why we think this is the perfect time to learn a bit more about the common food allergies and share some useful tips that will help protect yourself or anyone who may have been struggling with a known, or even unknown, food allergy!
The food allergy symptoms
Food allergy is the term that refers to a specific bad reaction to food due to the antibodies that the immune system creates against that particular food. While some food allergies may be only irritating, others are life-threatening. Research suggests that as much as five Americans die each day as a result of an anaphylactic shock.
The most common food allergies include an allergy to cow’s milk and dairy products, peanuts, eggs, shellfish, soy, wheat, nuts, etc. The most common symptoms of food allergies, on the other hand, include:
- Skin rash;
- Tingling of the mouth, lips, and/or tongue;
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and/or other body parts;
- Trouble breathing;
- Gastrointestinal issues;
- Dizziness, and even fainting, etc.
Tips from the FDA regarding food allergies
The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) require manufacturers to clearly label their products and list each ingredient so that everyone can be fully aware of the product’s content at all times. Any major allergens such as soy, dairy products, milk, nuts, etc. that have been used have to be accurately labeled as well. If you have a food allergy of any kind, do carefully read the label of each product before you rush off to buy it and later use it. If you are uncertain about any of the ingredients, do a little research online first.
Whenever you are eating out or attending a lunch/dinner at friends or relatives, do announce your food allergy and ask them if any of the allergens have been used during the preparation process. Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet as well. Carrying an auto-injector such as an Epi-Pen can save your life in case of an anaphylactic shock, so it might be a good idea to keep it at your side at all times.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any symptoms of a food allergy, ask for medical help right away. If you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms repeatably after you consume any of the major allergens or any other specific food, do consult your doctor as well. They can conduct a few tests to see if you, too, are struggling with a known food allergy.