As if you didn’t have enough to worry about, you now have to make sure that you are protecting yourself (and those around you) from an allergy. The word “allergy” can often cause discomfort or even fear, even if you don’t have one yourself. A lot of that comes from simply not understanding what an allergy actually is. Tired of being in the dark? Here’s what you should know about an allergy and your body.
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is when your body perceives something (food, for example) as a threat. When it comes into contact with you — through touch, inhalation or ingestion — the body sends out antibodies to destroy the food. This causes a defensive reaction in your body that can come out in a variety of ways, which are referred to as symptoms of an allergy.
What are the common symptoms of an allergy?
Symptoms can be different depending on the person, the allergen severity as well as several other factors. However, some of the most common symptoms that someone with an undiagnosed allergy can feel are:
• Itching or a rash: A food allergy can sometimes make you itch or give you a rash. Sometimes it is on your face or neck, and other times it could be on your chest or arms or even legs. The rash or itching will be present immediate upon eating in most cases, but it could come after the fact, too.
• An upset stomach or vomiting: If you eat a food that you’re allergic to, it could cause an upset stomach or even lead you to vomit. This is, as you may imagine, due to your body simply rejecting the food. It most likely happens right after eating it and often will leave you with an unsettled stomach for the remainder of the meal and even afterwards.
• Tingling in the mouth: Tingling or discomfort in your mouth is another popular symptom to watch out for. It is often the most frustrating one to watch out for.
• Anaphylaxis: This is the life-threatening reaction causing your throat to close, your body to swell up and, ultimately, your heart to stop beating. It is, of course, the most severe allergic reaction.
What should I do if I think I have an allergy?
While most people think of a food allergy as being life-threatening simply because of the anaphylaxis, this often isn’t the case. Sometimes a food allergy is just something annoying and frustrating, but that’s it.
At any rate, the best thing to do if you think you may have a food allergy is to get tested. This can be done in a variety of ways depending on your personal preferences. However, when it is done in a professional laboratory, you’ll get fast, accurate results to your food allergens, which can help you modify your diet to avoid them in the future.
A food allergy is something to take seriously, and understanding what an allergy is — and how it manifests — is a huge part of that. This will give you a solid starting point to better understanding an allergy.