jueves, 18 de agosto de 2011

Other Allergies - FAAN

Other Allergies - FAAN: While only eight foods (milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy) are estimated to account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions, a person can be allergic to virtually any food.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, allergic reactions have been reported to corn, gelatin, meat (beef, chicken, mutton, and pork), seeds (sesame, sunflower, and poppy being the most common), and spices such as caraway, coriander, garlic, and mustard.

Allergic reactions to fresh fruits and vegetables such as apple, carrot, peach, plum, tomato, and banana, to name a few, are often diagnosed as Oral Allergy Syndrome.

Other Common Allergies

Anaphylactic reactions to medication typically occur within an hour after taking the drug but may occur several hours later. It is estimated that up to 1 percent of the population may be at risk for allergic reactions to medications.

According to literature from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, "The chances of developing an allergic reaction may be increased if the drug is given frequently, or by skin application or injection rather than by mouth. Inherited genetic tendencies of the immune system to develop allergies may also be important. Contrary to popular myth, however, a family history of reaction to a specific drug does not mean that a patient has an increased chance of reacting to the same drug."

Recent research indicates that 90 percent of patients who have a history of allergic reactions to penicillin will be able tolerate the drug. Patients who need penicillin may be able to undergo a physician-supervised desensitization procedure in an effort to change their immune system response to the antibiotic. Those who are allergic to any antibiotic are more likely to react to other drugs than are patients who have no medication allergies.

If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after taking medication, speak to your doctor. If symptoms are severe, or if they resemble those of anaphylaxis, get emergency medical help immediately.

For additional information about medication allergy, visit The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.


Latex allergy is most commonly diagnosed in individuals who are exposed to latex frequently, such as those employed in the health care or rubber industry fields and children with spina bifida and other congenital diseases requiring multiple surgeries. An estimated 1 percent of the U.S. population has latex allergy, but the figure is much higher – between 10 percent and 17 percent – among those employed in health care occupations.

Some individuals with latex allergy will also develop reactions when eating foods that cross-react with latex, such as bananas, kiwi, avocados, European chestnuts, and, less commonly, potatoes, tomatoes, and peaches, plums, cherries, and other pitted fruits.

For additional information about latex allergy, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or the American Latex Allergy Association.

Insect Sting

Honeybees, bumblebees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants are the most common sources of insect stings in the United States. The symptoms of anaphylactic reactions to insect stings usually occur within minutes of the sting.

Insect sting reactions can range from local and mild to life-threatening. Local reactions can involve swelling of an area larger than the sting site (i.e., the entire arm can be swollen after a sting on the hand). This type of reaction may also include nausea and low-grade fever. Insect stings account for about 50 deaths each year in the U.S.

In some instances, insect sting allergy can be cured with immunotherapy, a process in which the doctor gradually administers stronger and stronger doses of the venom over a period of time.

To minimize the risk of an insect sting, avoid brightly colored clothing and scented cosmetics, perfumes, and so forth; avoid walking barefoot; use caution when cooking outdoors; avoid areas where stinging insects congregate; and keep insecticide handy when working outdoors.

Other Uncommon Allergies
Corn Allergy

Allergic reactions to corn are rare and a relatively small number of case reports can be found in medical literature. However, the reports do indicate that reactions to corn can be severe. Reactions to corn can occur from both raw and cooked corn. Individuals who are indeed allergic to corn may also react to corn and grass pollens. Cornstarch may also need to be avoided.

Meat Allergy

Allergies to meats such as beef, chicken, mutton, or pork are also rare. If an individual is diagnosed with an allergy to one type of meat, he or she may not need to avoid other types of meat. Heating and cooking meat can reduce the allergenicity of product.

Some may wonder whether or not an individual who is allergic to milk should also avoid beef. It is not generally advised for milk-allergic individuals to also avoid beef, and the majority of those allergic to milk can safely eat beef products. However, one study with oral food challenges to these foods showed that almost 8% of the 62 milk-allergic children studied also reacted to beef. The study also suggests that well-cooked beef is less likely to be problematic for those allergic to milk.

Similarly, those with egg allergy are generally not advised to also avoid poultry, and vice versa.

Gelatin Allergy

Gelatin is a protein that is formed when skin or connective tissue is boiled. Although allergic reactions to gelatin are rare, they have been reported.

Many vaccines contain porcine gelatin as a stabilizer. Allergy to gelatin is a common cause of an allergic reaction to vaccines. Individuals who have experienced symptoms of an allergic reaction after consuming gelatin should discuss this with their health care provider before getting vaccinated. If a severe allergy to gelatin is known, vaccines that contain gelatin as a component should be avoided.

Seed Allergy

Allergic reactions to seeds can be severe. Sesame, sunflower, and poppy seeds have been known to cause anaphylaxis.

While data on the estimated prevalence of seed allergy is not known, a recent study looking at the prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy also evaluated the incidence of sesame allergy and concluded that 0.1% of the general population may have sesame allergy.

Seeds are often used in bakery and bread products, and extracts of some seeds have been found in hair care products.

Some seed oils are highly refined, a process that removes the proteins from the oil. However, not all seed oils are highly refined, therefore, individuals with a seed allergy should be careful when eating foods prepared with seed oils.

Spice Allergy

Allergies to spices such as coriander, garlic, and mustard are rare and are usually mild, however severe reactions to spices have been reported. Patients who are more at risk for developing an allergy to a spice are those who are sensitive to mugwort and birch allergens, as some spices cross-react with these pollens.

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances differ from a food allergy, as the immune system is not involved when a person is intolerant to a food. Two common intolerances, lactose intolerance and Celiac disease are discussed here.

* Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance occurs when an individual’s small intestine does not produce enough of the lactase enzyme. Therefore, affected individuals are not able to digest lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy products.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance typically occur within 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingesting dairy products. Large doses of dairy may cause increased symptoms.

* Celiac Disease
An adverse reaction to gluten is known as celiac disease or "celiac sprue". This disease requires a lifelong restriction of gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley, and perhaps oats. These grains and their by-products must be strictly avoided by people with celiac disease.

Celiac disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, which prevents the proper absorption of nutrients in foods. This is turn can cause a person with Celiac disease to become malnourished.

Celiac disease can cause many symptoms, including bloating and gas, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, itchy skin rash, and pale mouth sores, to name a few. The symptoms may vary amongst affected individuals.

More information about Celiac disease is available through the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Avoidance Strategies

Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction. Read ingredient labels carefully. While U.S. federal labeling laws require manufacturers to disclose on food labels the usage of the top eight allergens in a food product, other ingredients may be used and be labeled as “spices”, or “natural/artificial flavoring/coloring”.

If you have questions about the ingredients in a food, contact the manufacturer for clarification.

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