Living with food allergies is challenging, requiring adults to manage their health and avoid trigger foods, and parents to recognize symptoms and find helpful resources and professionals. It also means finding ways to manage you or your child’s health and well-being without hardship, stress or illness. Learning to recognize a food allergy or food sensitivity is as important as learning how to live with it.
While I have been most fortunate during my lifetime, I have not had any severe allergic reaction to any type of food. I know that is not the case for many people. Our bodies have an amazing immune system that allows it to fight off many harmful microorganisms. One way the immune system attacks invaders is to make a protein that can recognize an invader. In short, a food allergy is a strong but misdirected immune response. Common allergic reactions include: hives, itching, rashes, sneezing, gastrointestinal upsets, and lots of discomfort.
The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to have an allergy test that determines which foods your body reacts to. Sharing information with your doctor about past illnesses or food reactions are important to consider. While there is no cure for a food allergy, children sometimes “outgrow” a reaction to egg, milk, soy or wheat. In the meantime, people with a food allergy must be aware of the presence of the allergens in many of the products in their household.
If you are interested in learning more about food allergies I hope you will consider joining me for an educational program I will be presenting twice during the week ahead. Join me on Wednesday, January 22nd, at noon, at the Great Bend Activity Center, 2715 18th Street, for “Food Allergy Facts of Life.” I will present the same information Friday, January 24th, at 1 p.m. at the Great Bend Senior Center. I will be sharing an excellent fact sheet that may help you understand the reactions you may be having to certain foods. See you next week!
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org