English as a Foreign Language

Common Food Allergies

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The Most Common Food Allergies and How to Treat Them

Common food allergies occur most frequently with children, but it is possible for adults to develop them as well. Symptoms of food allergies might include tingling around the mouth, swelling of the lips or a skin rash. It might also include the more common allergy symptoms like a runny nose and congestion. Stomach upset is typical with many of the common food allergies, and might include symptoms like cramps or diarrhea. In some cases, dizziness may also be a symptom. More severe allergy symptoms, also known as anaphylaxis, may include swelling of the mouth and airways, difficulty breathing, vomiting or fainting. These symptoms require immediate medical attention, since anaphylaxis can become life threatening very quickly.
It is always a good idea to see your doctor if you think that you are suffering from a common food allergy. Even if your first reaction was mild in nature, it is possible that future exposures to the allergen can cause a more severe reaction to develop. Your doctor can use a number of different methods to try to determine whether you do indeed have a common food allergy and what exactly you are allergic to. This can be done through skin tests, blood tests, an overview of the things that you have eaten, and an elimination plan of taking certain foods out of your diet. Sometimes the exact culprit of a common food allergy can be identified, but other times it can be more difficult to pinpoint. One piece of information that makes precise diagnosis a little bit easier is a list of the most common food allergies. This is often a good place to start in the testing process.

The Top Eight

Eight foods have now been identified as the most common food allergies. These include milk and eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, fish and shellfish, and wheat and soy. This list of the top eight most common food allergies can explain around 90% of all of the food allergies that are diagnosed today. The good news is that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has now required food manufacturers to list these eight allergens as ingredients in all food products so that people with these common food allergies can more effectively avoid their triggers in the food they eat. This is important because avoidance of allergens is generally the best treatment option for the common food allergies. If you know that you have an allergy to one of these foods, it is necessary to get in the habit of reading the labels on the foods that you eat, so that you can effectively avoid ingredients that you know you will have a reaction to.