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Managing Food Allergy

Read the Frequently Asked Questions

A food allergy occurs when the immune system has an over-reaction to what are normally harmless substances, referred to as allergens.

A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein called an allergen. They are distinct from other adverse responses to food, such as food intolerance, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.

Allergens are proteins present in foods and are usually resistant to the heat of cooking, the acidity in the stomach, and the intestinal digestive enzymes. As a result, the allergens cross the gastrointestinal lining, enter the bloodstream, and go to target organs, causing allergic reactions throughout the body. The mechanism of food allergy involves the immune system and heredity.

These reactions can range from mild to severe. Allergic responses include dermatitis, gastrointestinal and respiratory distress, including life-threatening anaphylactic responses (biphasic anaphylaxis and vasodilation); these require immediate emergency intervention.

Below you will find some frequently asked questions related to Food Allergy. To view the answers please download the PDF. Download PDF

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What foods are likely to cause allergies?
  • What are the symptoms of food allergy?
  • Will an infant grow out of their food allergy?
  • What are the steps to manage food allergy problems?

Breast milk is best for babies. Professional advice should be followed before using an infant formula. Introducing partial bottle feeding could negatively affect breast feeding. Good maternal nutrition is important for breast feeding and reversing a decision not to breast feed may be difficult. Infant formula should always be used as directed. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant. Social and financial implications should be considered when selecting a method of feeding.

 

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Last Updated: 03/04/2014

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