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Best Allergy Treatment in Ayurveda, Yoga, Homeopat...

Allergy meaning

Allergy is a hyperactive response of the immune system to particular substances called allergens. These allergens may be food, pollen, dust, drugs, molds, air-borne, dog, cat, mushroom, soy, gluten, etc. Sometimes, it may be for short times or continue for longer periods. The form of allergy may be from simple to life threatening. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)-Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Diet, Home remedy, Unani and Siddha, have greater role in the control and management of this disorder.

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by parrchristy

Allergy signs

The important signs and symptoms of this disorder is given below.

  • Skin’s itching
  • Itchy mouth during swallowing of foods
  • rash formation at the point of scratching
  • Lips inflammation
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Itching of eyes
  • Losing consciousness and dizziness
  • Mental confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Breathing problems
  • Sneezing and wheezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Anaphylaxis-quick response to allergen by the body
  • Throat tightness
  • Hives
  • Shock
  • Bloating

Causes of allergy

  • Infectious diseases at childhood
  • Pollution
  • Food allergies to peanuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, and walnuts etc.
  • Latex sensitivity
  • Hereditary
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Redness
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Shrimp and crab meat
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sneezing
  • Foods trigger allergy i.e. eggs, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts and fish

Allergy complications

  • Asthma
  • Bronchial disorders
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Hay fever
  • Anaphylactic shock and eczema

Allergy risk factors

  • Smoking
  • Bottle-fed babies
  • Allergen exposure at childhood
  • Birth coincides with pollen season
  • Mother or father suffered with nasal congestion
  • Premature birth
  • High exposure to allergens- molds spores, dust mites, animal dander, etc.
  • Allergy to one food may become the risk of another one.
  • Infants are more susceptible

Test and Diagnosis of Allergy

When environmental measures, drugs and medication fail to control this problem, it is better suggested to consult a physician.

Yoga for allergy control

  • Neti like Jal Neti and Sutra Neti reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Matsyasana (the fish pose) is a good asana for those people who suffer from asthma, bronchitis and other lungs ailment thereby relieves congestion.
  • Sarvangasana (the shoulder stand pose) helps in clearing of exchange of gases through the nasal passage.
  • Tadasana (the palm tree pose) improves concentration of mind and develop sense of balance.
  • Padhastasana (the foot hand pose) improves concentration and helps to decongest the nose.
  • Trikonasana (triangular stretch pose) systematically revitalizes the entire body.
  • Padmasana (the lotus pose) induces mental calmness and helps to bring about physical health and mental equilibrium on permanent basis.
  • Bhujangasana( the cobra pose) expands the chest more than usual, helping to improve one’s breathing.
  • Paschitmoasana (the fierce or powerful pose) tones all the abdominal organs, including the liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney and adrenal glands thus helps to mental calmness.
  • Pavan Muktasana( the wind releasing pose) relieves from abdominal ailments associated with malfunctioning of inefficient organs.
  • Kapalbhati (frontal brain bellowing) makes the nasal passage clean.
  • Pranayama control nasal condition effectively.
  • Nadishodhana Pranayama helps to remove congestion or blockage of the Nadis thereby allow the free flow of Prana.
  • Anulom Vinolum Pranayama develops consciousness, mental calmness and ease nasal congestion.
  • Surya Namaskar energizes the entire neuro-glandular and neuro-muscular system of the body.

Top Ayurveda treatment for allergy

Ayurvedic remedies are effective to manage and treat different forms of allergies. If you are depressed due to acuteness of allergens; herbal supplements, Ayurvedic herbal supplements and Ayurvedic medicine may be given as allergic treatment. Ayurvedic treatments are known natural remedy that not only provide relief, yet boost the immune system. Allergic management through Ayurveda is not a new concept, though Ayurveda as an herbal remedy is getting recognition all over the world. The Ayurvedic approach on allergies is to combat all forms of the condition without any side effects. The following Ayurvedic medicines and simple Ayurvedic suggestions are good for the problems.

Homeopathy medicines for allergy

Homeopathy is one of the components of alternative medicine where promising treatment is possible for the said problem. Homeopathy medicine is highly effective for allergy treatment as it has the capacity to ease the affected parts. Homeopathy cure for it is a well known fact in the medical science. Homeopathy lessens for allergies by enhancing the immune system against the allergens. For suitability of homeopathic medicine, it is better to contact to a homeopath or homeopathy physician.

  • Allium cepa is used to relieve nasal congestion and burning, especially recommended for autumn season.
  • Arsenicum album’s remedy is helpful for running nose and nasal.
  • For swollen eyes, use Euphrasia
  • Ferrum phosphoricum is effective for inflammation of runny eyes.
  • Gelsemium is needed in case of sneezing and watery nose.
  • Nux vomica may bring relief for strong cough and can also be used with asthma.
  • Sabadilla is suggested for sneezing and watery discharge nose.
  • For burning and itching, use of Wyethia, is a wise step.
  • Cebadilla seed is recommended when the person is suffering from sneezing, dry nose and dry cough.
  • Green tea is a good treatment to overcome symptoms and gain natural health.

Naturopathy for allergy cure

Simple home remedies for allergy

To get relief from the problem, home remedy can play effective roles to ease from running nose, itching skin, watery eyes, rashes, vomiting, sneezing etc. Home remedy keeps allergens and allergy triggers at bay. There are lots of home, natural and herbal remedies for skin, nose, eyes, and other parts of the body. Home remedy is quite effective for skin rashes too.

  • Warm water gargling with salt helps to treat it
  • For inflamed eyes, use the mixture of lime+ mallow + chamomile tea.
  • Quince + Honey + Lemon show a good impact on the throat.
  • Eye irritation may be reduced washing it through cold water.
  • Keep yourself away from allergens.
  • Hot shower is effective to ward off allergen and may be used as skin.
  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, mites, dust etc.
  • Dust mites favour humid place that may spur the condition.
  • Hay, straw and grass burning may make allergic patient vulnerable to the disease.
  • For congested and inflammatory nose, use peppermint tea.
  • Paste of sandalwood + lime juice, a best bet for the affected area.

Top allergic foods and supplements

Food allergy is a negative response to food protein and can be seen with common food allergens like egg, nuts, wheat, soy, milk, peanut, fish, tomatoes and shellfish. These foods are responsible about 90 % of all food allergic reaction. These food allergens may be named as allergies like egg, nut, wheat, soy, milk, peanut, fish, tomato, shellfish, etc. Due to these allergic foods, allergies are common among children. Food allergies sometimes may cause health problems and leads to serious illness. Food hypersensitivity and food intolerance trigger food allergies. Allergic prone people even may suffer from small quantity of allergic foods and show symptoms like rash, nausea and vomiting.

Allergy prevention tips

  • Cleanliness is the most important needs to prevent it.
  • Use of carpet may be avoided as it is dust prone.
  • Vacuum cleaner is preferred as it filters dust.
  • Mask should be used while cleaning.
  • Keep yourself away from pets.
  • Use exhaust fan.
  • Eatable should be kept in tight container.
  • Care your pet hygienically.
  • Avoid pollutants as airborne matter may trigger an allergic condition.
  • Use vacuum cleaner for dusting of carpets.

Aashwasan | Home

Every once in a while the universe sends somebody with a grand vision and purpose to mark a new course specific to those times and needs of people at that time. Some people mark a beginning of a new era, some leave behind an essence which is deeply needed by humanity and just change the course in inexplicable yet deeply significant ways.

Ms. Rashmi Aiyappa’s birth marks a significant turn in the events of human evolution. She is born in this era, to bring back the ancient science that is lost to humanity. She is a source of a science which was discovered with secrets about timelessness and theories about life after death – one science that encompasses the mechanisms of all life forms into a single dynamic format demystifying the root cause of all unknown, be it a disease, situations of life, relationships or not knowing one’s self at all. She is a creator of a space that has an answer beyond religion, belief, faith, logic and philosophy – it is an experience . It is a science that the world has been waiting for. To bring this to every individual in this world she has founded Aashwasan – a global revolution to bring love and happiness in our world.

Ms. Rashmi Aiyappa perceives time and space very differently from that of a common man. According to her , the experience of space is not possible without the arrow of time. This in fact agrees with some of the basic principles adduced by Quantum Physics and General theory of relativity. Space continues to expand even today. About 15 billion years ago before the Big Bang (if we can say so), there was no space. As time progressed space was created.

If space is a function of time, there was a time when there was no space and hence no time. Beyond time and space is a space where time and space collapses. This is also the zone of the unmanifest where the blueprint of life forms and life is available. Since this is the zone of the unmanifested and is beyond time and space , there are no restrictions and limitations or constraints. It is infinitesimal and infinite at the same time. This zone or space according to current known knowledge of physics exists only before Big Bang or the Big collapse. Modern theories of Physics also suggest the intriguing possibility of existence of such a space in our current reality. Ms Rashmi Aiyappa experiences this zone on an everyday basis. This zone corresponds to the space between the smallest of the small (smaller than a quark) and largest of the large (sum of all the galaxies). It is like a bridge between both these extremes and hence completes the circle of existence.

Subtle energy is the energy that exists in such a dimension. Subtle energy corresponds to the blueprint of a specific life form, or many life forms. The subtle energy corresponding to a life form or an individual is the essence of that person and what the person will turn out to be. The subtle energy when interacts with matter creates life. Hence the subtle energy is also referred to as Lifeforce Energy TM . Lifeforce Energy TM is therefore the essence, the blue print , the energy that exists beyond space and time. It is the creator of life and holds the potential to change the life form’s existence. Because of evolution, human beings access only a minuscule percentage of this knowing, and hence are able to manifest an insignificant percentage of their potential. By enhancing the experience of connection between our subtle energy and matter (mind and body), we can dramatically enhance the quality of our lives. The subtle energy or Lifeforce Energy TM contains the knowing of all mechanisms of the body. A mechanism of a body is holistic and spans across multiple organs and systems of the body. Lifeforce Mechanism TM – is the interaction of the subtle energy and matter (body-mind), where manifestation happens, which shows current state of the human being. Lifeforce Mechanism TM is the sum total of all knowing of all the mechanisms in the human body-mind-soul. Though there is an original Lifeforce Mechanism TM of an individual, over a period of time because of individual’s conditioning and choices, the mechanism deviates from it s blueprint. Alteration of this mechanism leads to various physiological, psychological and psychiatric issues.

While Lifeforce Mechanism TM corresponds to the state of existence of a life form, Timeless Phenomenon TM contains the knowing of this life or life form over a period of time. Since time creates the experience of space, Timeless PhenomenonTM contains the knowing of how the life form was, is and will turn out to be. The cause and effect is contained in the knowledge of Timeless Phenomenon TM. This phenomenon can thus explain the origin or root cause of many issues faced by an individual and also the future impact of current choices. Timeless Phenomenon TM unravels the impact of choices on the future state of a life form.

Ms. Rashmi Aiyappa’s inborn knowledge of Lifeforce Mechanism TM and Timeless Phenomenon TM gave her a holistic and accurate understanding of the physical life span and all the happenings within it. She witnessed the impact of evolution on human physiology and the alterations brought in it, leading humanity to experience only 3% – 5% of its original creation. Today, degeneration can be seen collectively in health and in the mechanical way of life. To restore human life and bring solutions in the course of nature preservation, Rashmi Aiyappa brings forth a new science called Aashwasan Science TM – a unique knowledge that evolved in her as experiences. Aashwasan Science TM contains the knowledge of life’s mechanism and its manifestations. It is spiritual in origin, scientific in approach and experiential in nature. She offers her inventions to the world through Aashwasan, an institution founded by her to connect people to their infinite potential. She has invented various tools and techniques out of her innate knowledge, which are offered as various services to diagnose, treat, counsel, empower etc.

Aashwasan Science TM has addressed conditions and issues at its root to bring about sustainable, repeatable and continuous benefit, thus has transformed thousands of lives worldwide. Unprecedented Breakthroughs in 29 areas of health have been recorded as results at preventive, curative and palliative levels. It brings about a transformation in the way people experience their health, relationships, environment and express their innate talents & skills.

Ms. Rashmi Aiyappa’s unconditional love for humanity and infinite potential makes her stand for people with empathy, purpose and compassion at all times. As an individual, she stands as an example of infinite potential of human life herself, serving humanity so that one day humanity may uncover the glory of its origin and find hope.

Her vision for the world is to make a world of one that stands for the original creation of humanity towards the direction of nature preservation in a purposeful manner.

Food Allergy and Intolerance. Allergic disorders a...

An allergy is a response by the body’s immune system to something (called an allergen) that is not necessarily harmful in itself. Certain people are sensitive to this allergen and have a reaction when exposed to it. Some allergic reactions are mild and harmless, but others are severe and potentially life-threatening (anaphylaxis). (See separate leaflets called Allergy – General Overview and Anaphylaxis for more information.)

A food allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system to a particular food. This tends to cause unpleasant and unwanted effects (symptoms).

There are different types of food allergy, depending on which part of the immune system responds. The acute, sudden-onset reactions tend to be caused by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These are called IgE-mediated reactions. As a result of these reactions, various chemicals are made, including histamine. Histamine causes many of the allergy symptoms and this is why anti histamines can be used to treat some allergic reactions.

There are also non-IgE-mediated reactions which tend to be more delayed and less severe. In these reactions the symptoms are not caused by IgE. Instead a type of white blood cell, called a T cell, causes the problem. Common reactions include skin problems such as rashes and eczema, and tummy (abdominal) symptoms and bowel disturbance.

It is also possible to have mixed reactions.

A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy. Many people incorrectly use the words interchangeably. A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts abnormally to specific foods. No allergic reaction takes place with a food intolerance.

People with a food intolerance may have digestive symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps. These are quite common symptoms anyway. For example, other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can also cause these symptoms.

In food intolerance, the symptoms can be caused by various problems. Although the immune system is not involved, it does not mean that they are unimportant or mild in nature. Food intolerance can cause considerable problems and significant symptoms.

Some examples are:

  • Lactose intolerance. This causes diarrhoea and tummy (abdominal) symptoms (bloating and pain) after milk is drunk or dairy products are eaten. It happens because of a deficiency of lactase, an enzyme in the body that digests the sugar in milk (lactose). Unless lactose is broken down, the body cannot absorb it. You can be born without any lactase, or only a low level, or you can develop lactase deficiency – often after an episode of infection of the gut (gastroenteritis). See separate leaflet called Lactose Intolerance for more details.
  • Direct effects of foods and additives. Certain foods and chemicals in foods may directly affect the body and cause symptoms. For example, some people find that the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) causes flushing, headache, abdominal pains and bloating. However, the exact way in which foods and additives may cause symptoms is often not clear.

    There is controversy about whether certain additives (E numbers) are responsible for various symptoms, especially in children. Also, there is uncertainty as to whether certain foods can make symptoms worse in some people who have conditions such as IBS, migraine and eczema.

  • Food avoidance. Some people, especially children, may develop physical symptoms such as feeling sick and diarrhoea if they eat, or are offered, foods they have come to dislike. Strictly speaking this is not a true food intolerance. It may, however, be difficult to distinguish between avoidance and intolerance in children.

Also, many people incorrectly assume symptoms they have are due to food intolerances when in fact their symptoms are not due to food. Consequently, people commonly cut things out of their diet that they believe to be the cause of their problems. In itself this can lead to further problems.

In summary, food intolerance often ends up being a rather vague term which is sometimes difficult to clarify.

The symptoms of food intolerance occur usually a few hours after eating the food. Allergic reactions happen much more quickly.

With an allergy, even a tiny amount of the food can cause an allergic reaction to take place. Some people with a severe allergy to nuts might experience an extreme form of allergic reaction (anaphylaxis):

  • After eating something made in a factory that also handles nuts; or
  • After kissing someone who has recently eaten nuts.

With food intolerances you need a lot more of the food to cause the symptoms.

Food intolerances are never life-threatening. Some allergies are, as they can cause anaphylaxis.

Some people get a type of allergic reaction to certain foods that only causes symptoms in the mouth and throat. It tends to cause itching, tingling, and swelling of the mouth, lips and throat. Fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts commonly cause this. It can be confused with an extreme form of allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

It has the potential to be serious, as swelling in the mouth and throat can affect the ability to breathe; however, this is rare. The symptoms start within minutes of eating and tend to settle completely within an hour.

Note: an ambulance should be called immediately if you feel faint, have difficulty breathing or feel like your throat is closing up.

In the western world, 5 children in 100 and 3-4 adults in 100 are thought to have a food allergy. In the UK, 2 babies in 100 develop an allergy to protein in cow’s milk. The number of people with food allergies seems to be rising. However, the severity of these allergies varies. Many people mistakenly believe they have food allergies. Only about 1 in 5 people who report a food reaction actually have a true food allergy.

Food allergy

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • Atopic eczema (classical eczema) that is seen in allergy-prone (atopic) families – often those with hay fever and asthma too.
  • Being sick (vomiting) that is generally effortless (gastro-oesophageal reflux).
  • Loose and/or frequent stools (faeces).
  • Constipation.
  • Blood or mucus in the stools.
  • Redness around the back passage (anus).
  • Tiredness.
  • Pallor.
  • Poor growth. This is often seen in children with a non-IgE food allergy. Young children, particularly those with digestive symptoms, should be regularly weighed. Weight should be plotted on a growth chart. This allows medical professionals such as GPs and health visitors to see if growth is slow.

These are all possible symptoms of a food allergy. They range from the mild reactions and chronic symptoms to the most severe and life-threatening ones.

Food intolerance

Symptoms of a food intolerance vary widely and can include:

  • Bloating and tummy (abdominal) pain.
  • Diarrhoea or loose stools (faeces).
  • Skin rashes and itching.

Some of these symptoms are the same as those which can be caused by a non-IgE food allergy. So this shows how complicated it can be to determine whether you have an allergy or an intolerance.

Foods that most commonly cause allergy are milk, eggs, nuts (especially peanuts), sesame, shellfish and other seafood, wheat, soya and some fruits such as citrus and kiwi.

If you think you have, or your child has, a food allergy, you should seek medical advice. Usually your GP would be the first point of call.

You may be referred to a consultant in hospital (often an immunologist or an allergist). This would be for further tests to confirm the diagnosis. This would often happen if a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis has occurred, or if a child is not growing well and has gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea.

If you think you or your child has a food intolerance, it depends on the severity of symptoms as to how promptly you seek medical advice. In milder, less clear-cut situations, it is often worth spending some time yourself trying to work out which foodstuff is the culprit.

Food diary

Keeping a diary of what is eaten is a simple activity that can be helpful in some cases. You need to write down everything that is eaten and any reaction that you have. A food diary does not provide a diagnosis, but it does suggest which food(s) could be the culprit(s), allowing further tests.

Specific tests

If it is thought that you have an IgE-mediated allergy, there are two main types of test that can be done:

Skin prick test
This is usually done in a specialist hospital allergy clinic. Because an anaphylactic reaction is possible, there needs to be access to resuscitation equipment including adrenaline (epinephrine). A small drop of liquid containing the food substance is placed on the skin of the forearm and a needle is used to prick the skin, through the droplet. This allows the food to enter the skin. After a period of time, the droplet is wiped off and the skin is read. This means looking to see if there has been a reaction, and how big this is. Usually there would be an itchy red area with a surrounding white raised swelling called a wheal. See separate leaflet called Skin Prick Allergy Test for more details.

Blood tests
Blood tests can detect if your blood contains specific IgE antibodies. So, if you had allergic reactions to peanuts, your blood might contain antibodies to peanuts. This test is called a radioallergosorbent test (RAST). The main difficulty with these blood tests is that they are only available for a small number of foods. They are expensive and the accuracy of different tests can vary. Results need to be interpreted carefully alongside the history of allergic reaction. The advantage of blood tests is that they are safe in people who have anaphylaxis or severe skin diseases that would make skin prick testing difficult.

Elimination and challenge

If a non-IgE food allergy is suspected, elimination and challenge can be used to try to confirm the diagnosis of allergy. This is only really appropriate when it seems clear which foodstuff is causing the problem. The food should be excluded from the diet completely for 2-6 weeks, to see if symptoms improve. After this time, the food should be reintroduced, to see if symptoms return. Dietary advice from a dietician or doctor may be required during the elimination period. This is to make sure the diet is not deficient in any essential nutrients and to provide an alternative to the food excluded.

You may see many commercial companies offering allergy testing, particularly on the internet. Be very wary of these.

The following tests have no medical evidence behind them – that is, they cannot be relied upon to give any accurate results. At best, these tests are a waste of money and are of no help in diagnosis. At worst they are dangerous – either by failing to pick up a significant allergy or by over-diagnosing multiple allergies. The following tests are not recommended:

  • IgG blood tests. (It is IgE that is measured in reliable allergy tests performed in the NHS.)
  • Kinesiology.
  • Hair analysis.
  • White blood cell tests – eg, a leukocytotoxic test.
  • Pulse test.
  • Electrodermal (Vega) test.

These tests tend to suggest long lists of foods that could be avoided unnecessarily. This can lead to the exclusion of multiple foods from the diet. Whilst this might be unhealthy for an adult, it can be positively harmful in a child or an adult with complex medical health needs. An extremely restricted diet can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies and eventually to malnutrition.

Children should not follow a restricted diet, unless supervised by a dietician. They require a well-balanced diet, containing all the major food groups, vitamins and trace elements to ensure adequate growth and development.

Allergen avoidance

The only real treatment for food allergy and intolerance is to avoid that food. This is very important if an extreme form of allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) has occurred.

It can be very difficult to avoid certain foods completely, particularly when eating out and buying food. Often foods are contaminated with traces of another food. An example would be that a factory may produce several types of breakfast cereal, including ones containing nuts. A brand that doesn’t specifically contain nuts as an ingredient may contain tiny traces of nut. This is because it has picked them up from machines in the factory, perhaps used after a nutty cereal has been made. For this reason, it is crucial to check the labels on packaging. There are stringent rules for manufacturers regarding labelling.

Referral to a dietician

Dieticians are qualified health professionals. They can assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems. Nutritionists and therapists are voluntarily registered and anyone can use the title. For therapists in particular, this can mean unproven ‘treatments’ based on personal opinion and belief.

If you have a food allergy or intolerance, after seeking medical advice, a dietician can be a useful person to see for further help and advice. You can be referred to an NHS dietician. The advice can be particularly useful for children with food allergies, as it is vital they maintain a balanced diet for growth and development.

Medication

Antihistamines can be helpful where food allergies cause symptoms such as itchy rashes (urticaria).

Adrenaline (epinephrine) may be prescribed in an injectable form (such as Emerade®, EpiPen® or Jext®) if a person has a history of anaphylaxis. It is important that this should be carried on your person at all times, and that you are trained in its use or how to give it to your child.

Other advice

Support and education are important for people with food allergies or for parents of children with food allergies. This may be provided by your GP, practice nurse or hospital specialist. Written information and advice on how to manage allergic reactions are extremely important. There are various support groups available for people with allergies and some people like to access help themselves this way.

It is a good idea to have a medical emergency identification bracelet or equivalent if you have a history of anaphylaxis.

As the immune system matures and a child gets older, many grow out of allergies to eggs, wheat, milk and soya. Adults with food allergy may also grow out of their food allergy if an elimination diet is followed carefully. About a third of adults and children lose their reactions after 1-2 years of elimination diets.

Allergic reactions to peanuts, seafood, fish and tree nuts rarely get better.

A note about coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is not a food allergy, nor is it a food intolerance. It is an autoimmune disease which means that the immune system (which normally protects the body from infections) mistakenly attacks itself. Other autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and some thyroid disorders. Coeliac disease is caused by a sensitivity to gluten. Gluten is a component of wheat, so it is found in foods such as bread and pasta. See separate leaflet called Coeliac Disease for more details.

Egg allergy and immunisations

Egg allergy is not a reason to avoid the flu vaccination, nor is it a reason for a child to miss his or her immunisations (including measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)). If there is a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to egg-containing food, it may be safer for a child to be vaccinated in hospital. However, most anaphylactic reactions to MMR are related to other ingredients in the vaccine, and not the egg. Anaphylaxis to gelatin or neomycin (an antibiotic) is a contra-indication to MMR. Children with milder reactions should definitely receive their vaccinations in the normal way.

Peanut allergy, pregnancy, breast-feeding and weaning

The latest research shows that there is no clear evidence to say that eating, or not eating, peanuts during pregnancy affects the chances of your baby developing a peanut allergy. Pregnant women need not avoid eating peanuts.

If you are breast-feeding and enjoy eating peanuts or other nuts there is no reason to avoid them, unless you are allergic to them. They can be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet.

Nuts are a choking hazard for children so great care must be taken. World Health Organization (WHO) advice is that babies should be fed only breast milk for their first six months. However, if weaning on to solid food occurs before 6 months of age, peanuts and nut-containing foods should be avoided in case a food allergy is triggered. The same advice is also true for seeds, cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, fish and shellfish. In general terms, when weaning, it is best to introduce one new food at a time. That way, if there is a problem, such as an allergy, it is easier to tell which food(s) could be the culprit(s).

Treatment of Seafood Allergy, Shellfish Allergies,...

Definition :
Shellfish allergy is one of the most common food allergies, affecting about 2 percent of people in the United States. It is most common in adults, but can also occur in children. Symptoms of shellfish allergy can range from hives, vomiting or nasal congestion to more-severe and even life-threatening symptoms. For some people, even a tiny amount of shellfish can cause a serious reaction.

Shellfish includes animals with shells, such as clams, lobster and shrimp, as well as octopus and squid. You may only be allergic to some kinds of shellfish, or you may need to avoid all shellfish. While over-the-counter and prescription medications can help control symptoms, the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the type of food that causes it.

If you or your child has a reaction to shellfish, tell your doctor about it, no matter how mild the reaction may have been. Tests can help confirm a shellfish allergy, so you can take steps to avoid future and potentially more-severe reactions.

Causes:
All food allergies are caused by an immune system malfunction. Your immune system identifies certain shellfish proteins as harmful, triggering the production of antibodies to neutralize the shellfish protein (allergen). The next time you come in contact with proteins in shellfish, these antibodies recognize them and signal your immune system to release histamine and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.

Histamine and other body chemicals cause a range of allergic signs and symptoms. Histamine is partly responsible for most allergic responses, including runny nose, itchy eyes, dry throat, rashes and hives, nausea, diarrhea, labored breathing, and in some cases, anaphylactic shock.

There are several types of shellfish, and each kind contains different allergy-causing proteins.

Crustaceans include crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawns.

Mollusks include :

  • Bivalves such as clams, mussels, oysters, scallops and abalone
  • Gastropods such as limpets, periwinkles and snails (escargot)
  • Cephalopods such as squid, cuttlefish and octopus

Some people are allergic to only one type of shellfish, but can eat others. However, some people with a shellfish allergy react to and must avoid all shellfish.

You’re at increased risk of developing a shellfish allergy if allergies of any type are common in your family. While people of any age or gender can develop a shellfish allergy, it’s most common in boys and women.

When to seek medical advice :
See a doctor or allergy specialist if you have possible food allergy symptoms shortly after eating. If possible, see your doctor when the allergic reaction is occurring. This will aid in making a diagnosis.

Seek emergency treatment if you develop any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as :

  • Constriction of airways that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of a shellfish allergy include :

  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other parts of the body
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Tingling in the mouth

A severe allergic reaction to shellfish called anaphylaxis is rare – but can be life-threatening if it interferes with breathing. An anaphylactic reaction is a medical emergency that requires treatment with an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection and a trip to the emergency room. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include :

  • Constriction of airways, including a swollen throat or a lump in your throat, that makes it difficult to breathe
  • Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

A shellfish allergy is distinct from an adverse reaction caused by toxins or bacteria. This type of food poisoning is common and can cause symptoms similar to a shellfish allergy. But unlike an allergy, it does not involve the immune system and only occurs when you eat food that has been contaminated. An allergic reaction to shellfish usually occurs every time you eat the type of shellfish that causes the reaction.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and may perform a physical exam to find or rule out other medical problems. He or she may also recommend one or both of the following tests :

  • Skin test. In this test, your skin is pricked and exposed to small amounts of the proteins found in shellfish. If you’re allergic, you develop a raised bump (hive) at the test location on your skin. Allergy specialists usually are best equipped to perform and interpret allergy skin tests.
  • Blood test. Also called allergen-specific IgE antibody test, radioallergosorbent (RAST) test or allergy screen, this test can measure your immune system’s response to shellfish proteins by measuring the amount of certain antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to shellfish proteins.

A history of allergic reactions shortly after exposure to shellfish can be signs of a shellfish allergy, but allergy testing is the only sure way to tell what’s causing your symptoms. Adverse reactions to shellfish are also sometimes caused by a nonallergic reaction such as food poisoning or a bacterial or viral infection.

The only sure way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid shellfish altogether.

Medications such as antihistamines may reduce signs and symptoms of a shellfish allergy. These drugs can be taken after exposure to shellfish to control your reaction and help relieve discomfort.

Despite your best efforts, you may still come into contact with shellfish. If you have a serious allergic reaction, you may need an emergency injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) and a trip to the emergency room. If you’re at risk of having a severe reaction, you may need to carry injectable epinephrine (such as an EpiPen) with you at all times.Prevention:

If you know you are allergic to shellfish, the only sure way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid all shellfish or products that might contain shellfish. Even trace amounts of shellfish can cause a severe reaction in some people. Shellfish is seldom a hidden food ingredient, so it may be easier to avoid than some other allergy-causing foods.

Avoiding shellfish

  • Eating at restaurants poses the biggest danger of mistakenly eating shellfish. When you eat at restaurants, always check to make sure the same pan, oil or utensils used for shellfish are not also used to prepare other foods. This is called ‘cross-contamination.’
  • Fish and shellfish are biologically distinct, so fish will not cause an allergic reaction if you have a shellfish allergy – unless you are also allergic to fish. But when eating at a seafood restaurant, there is a higher risk of cross-contamination of your food with trace amounts of shellfish.
  • Cross-contamination can occur in stores where food may be processed or displayed along with shellfish, and during manufacturing. Be sure to read food labels carefully. Companies are required to clearly label any product that contains even small amounts of shellfish or other foods that often cause allergic reactions.
  • You may need to completely avoid environments where shellfish are prepared or processed. Some people even have a reaction after touching shellfish or inhaling steam from cooking shellfish.
  • Do not take coral calcium if you’re allergic to shellfish. Coral calcium, which is obtained from ocean coral reefs, can trigger allergic reactions, such as hives, breathing problems and swelling, in people with shellfish allergies.

Some people mistakenly believe that allergy to iodine or allergy to radiocontrast dye used in some lab procedures can cause reactions in people with a shellfish allergy. Reactions to radiocontrast material or iodine are not related.

Glucosamine, a supplement used to prevent and treat arthritis, is made from crab, lobster or shrimp shells. While it does not appear to cause an allergic reaction in most people who have a shellfish allergy, more studies need to be done to determine whether it is safe for people allergic to shellfish.

If you are at risk of a serious allergic reaction, talk with your doctor about carrying emergency epinephrine (adrenaline). If you have already had a severe reaction, wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace that lets others know that you have a food allergy.

This is why should always apply insect repellent b...

Urticaria is a raised itchy and painful rash that migrates about on the skin, it is also called a ‘nettle rash’ or hives. Angioedema swelling is when the deeper tissues are affected with swelling and pressure on airways (previously called Angioneurotic Oedema).

by Dr Adrian Morris


Introduction

There are distinct types of urticaria called Spontaneous Urticaria and Inducible Urticaria (also known as Physical Urticaria). Ordinarily spontaneous urticaria has two patterns – Acute Urticaria and Chronic Urticaria.

  • Acute urticaria is most often caused by an allergy to food, insect sting, viral illness or medication and can last between several hours and six weeks.
  • Chronic urticaria is diagnosed if the rash persists or recurs for six weeks or longer, the underlying cause is then usually not due to food allergies

All forms of urticaria may occur in association with deeper skin swelling or angioedema and equally, angioedema may occur in isolation with no apparent urticaria. This depends on whether we release histamine into the skin (urticaria), deeper tissues (angioedema) or both. Angioedema swelling is most apparent in lax tissues around the eyelids, lips, tongue and genitals. This is also referred to as Angioneurotic oedema and can be associated with Anaphylactic shock.

Just to confuse the issue, Chronic Urticaria may also occur together with Physical (Inducible) Urticaria.

Urticaria causes

Acute Urticaria

The most likely cause of Acute Urticaria is an allergy due to exposure to pets, horses, latex rubber, food such as shellfish, nuts, egg and dairy products or bee and wasp stings. Allergies to medication such as antibiotics (penicillin, tetracycline, sulphonamides and cephalosporins), blood pressure pills (ACE inhibitors and diuretics), codeine and aspirin containing pain killers can cause acute urticaria. The most common cause for Acute Urticaria in a child will be a viral infection. Sometimes viral infections such as glandular fever and hepatitis B, or bacteria (helicobacter, streptococci), fungal and parasitic infections can trigger urticaria in adults. Allergic reactions to blood products, transfusions, xray contrast and vaccines have also been implicated. Papular urticaria is the medical term for ‘itchy bumps’ or grouped urticarial lesions seen mainly in children and which follow insect bites from midges, fleas and mosquitoes. Skeeter Syndrome is an localised allergic skin reaction to proteins from a mosquito bite. The most likely cause for acute urticaria in childhood is a viral infection. It is a popular misconception that Iodine in shellfish triggers anaphylaxis, but this is a myth as there is not enough Iodine in shellfish to trigger an allergic reaction. It is a protein in the shellfish flesh that triggers the allergy.

Chronic Urticaria

The cause of Chronic Urticaria is much more difficult to identify it may be inducible or spontaneous. The role of true food allergy is hardly ever a significant trigger but food additives such as salicylate, sodium benzoate, sulphites, artificial colourings and nitrites may play a role. We often end up diagnosing Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria (previously called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria) when no cause is identified. This condition (which can persist for many years) is due to the production of ‘auto-antibodies’ which in turn attack specific Mast Cells in our skin and tissues causing an enormous release of histamine. Why we suddenly switch-on production of these aggressive antibodies to our own skin cells is a complete enigma. Our bodies may continue producing these auto-antibodies for a number of years leading to a great deal of distress and discomfort for the urticaria sufferer. Unfortunately over 50% of Chronic Urticaria cases are due to production of these ‘auto-antibodies’ to the IgE and its receptor on Mast Cells found in the skin; hence there is a possible relationship to underlying thyroid and joint diseases. 30% of cases of Chronic Urticaria have underlying thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis)

Chronic undetected dental, sinus, urinary or parasitic infections as well as ACE inhibitor blood pressure pills (lisinopril, enalapril and perindopril) may play a role in triggering chronic urticaria. Stress is known to aggravate urticaria and stress reduction measures are very important in treating chronic idiopathic urticaria. A scoring system for urticaria (measuring wheals & itch) using a 7 day activity score (UAS7) has been devised.

Physical Urticaria

Physical urticaria or Inducible Urticaria can be triggered by physical factors such as exposure to environmental heat (prickly heat), intense cold (cold urticaria), sunlight (solar urticaria), water (aquagenic urticaria), vibration from pneumatic drills or pressure on the skin from tight clothing. Lesions typically last less than one hour. Exercise and sweating may trigger a fine itchy rash called Cholinergic Urticaria. Very rarely some people are allergic to all forms of water, this is called ‘Aquagenic’ Urticaria. Exercising shortly after eating certain foods such as wheat, celery and shellfish might provoke delayed urticaria, asthma or even anaphylaxis. Many people have very sensitive skin and any friction or rubbing will cause raised red lines to develop (FricTest). This is called Dermatographism or Dermographia and indicates just how easily they can release histamine into their own skin. A good test for Cold Urticaria is to hold a block of ice against the skin for 5 minutes and see if an urticaria weal develops after the ice is removed. Whereas pressing a blunt pencil against the skin for one minute will lead to a wheal developing immediately in Pressure Urticaria, while in Delayed Pressure Urticaria the wheal may only develop after 6 hours.

Underlying thyroid diseases and autoimmune diseases such as Thyroiditis, Systemic Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis can provoke Chronic Urticaria or even Urticarial Vasculitis (a variant in which the lesions tend not to fluctuate but lead to skin bruising). Urticarial Vasculitis may be associated with a fever, bone pains and joint swelling (Schnitzler’s Syndrome). Henoch Schonlein purpura is a common ‘urticarial’ vasculitis occuring on the lower limbs in children and occasionally children with Coeliac Disease may present with urticaria. Very often Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria will be accompanied by Physical Urticaria.

Contact Urticaria results in immediate localised skin lesions on the hands or exposed skin from direct skin contact with urticaria triggers such as latex, cosmetics, perfume and food preparation (seafood & potato)

Occasionally an inherited deficiency of the C1 Esterase Inhibitor Enzyme leads to a non-itchy form of urticaria called Hereditary or Familial Angioedema. This condition affects mainly females in a family, is associated with sudden swelling of the face and neck which is painful, but there is no rash. These lesions usually last for 2 to 3 days and do not respond well to antihistamine medication. Sufferers characteristically have low levels of the Complement C4 in their bloodstream and respond to medication such as Danazol or Tranexamic acid which prevent angioedema attacks. Isolated angio-oedema without urticaria may also be triggered by aspirin, ibuprofen, epilepsy and blood pressure medications.

Urticaria symptoms

Lesions tend to move about every 24 hours and ‘migrate’ around on the body.

In chronic cases, the intense itchiness will cause sleepless nights and may lead to a depressive illness. Chronic urticaria tends to fluctuate by temporarily settling down and then suddenly relapsing again with co-existent viral illnesses, stress and aspirin containing medication such as flu remedies. This chronic pattern may recur for 5 years to 20 years in some cases!

If your urticaria does not disappear after a few weeks, or does not respond to antihistamine medication, and is accompanied by any other health problem, you should go to your doctor. Blood tests may help identify an allergy or underlying immune disorder. A rare but troublesome cause for chronic urticaria is Systemic mastocytosis where there is a total over abundance of Mast Cells in the body with raised levels of Tryptase in the bloodstream. Localised Mast Cell overproduction in the skin is associated with excessive pigmented freckles and called Urticaria pigmentosa (then the urticaria is elicited by firmly rubbing the skin – called Darier’s sign).

Urticaria treatment

Avoid any obvious triggers or exacerbating factors and try these simple measures:

Keep the skin cool, avoid getting hot from exercise and take lukewarm baths. Resist the temptation to rub the itchy skin and apply copious amounts of moisturising creams to reduce dryness and itch. Avoid alcoholic drinks, anti-inflammatory drugs and foods containing additives and pseudoallergens (sodium benzoate, sulphite preservatives, colourings and salicylate).

  • Apply 1% menthol in aqueous cream or Eurax to soothe the affected skin
  • Avoid all aspirin or codeine containing medication (including ibuprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin, naproxen and mefenamic acid). Only use simple paracetamol as a painkiller
  • Avoid ACE inhibitor blood pressure pills (lisinopril, ramipril, enalapril & perindopril), if you are prone to developing urticaria and angioedema
  • Carefully read Side Effects list of any other medication you are currently taking and avoid medicines that are known to trigger urticaria or angioedema
  • Pregnancy may specifically aggravate urticaria as Pruritic and Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP syndrome)
  • Stress, overheating, tight clothing and alcohol may aggravate and make urticaria worse.
  • A diet containing low-histamine containing foods (avoiding dark fish, certain vegetables, berries and strong cheeses) and other pseudoallergens (adapted Berlin Diet) may be helpful by reducing the ‘histamine load’ on chronic urticaria.

The mainstay of urticaria treatment is high dose (second generation) ANTIHISTAMINE medication which may be necessary for prolonged periods (in excess of 6 weeks). Up to quadruple the conventional doses of these non-sedating antihistamines such as Cetirizine, Loratadine, Acrivastine and Fexofenadine may be needed to get symptom relief. The new ‘isomers’ called desloratadine and levocetirizine don’t seen to offer any additional benefit in treating urticaria. Long-term deal steroids such as Prednisolone should be avoided due to adverse side effects.

Traditionally we add ‘stomach-ulcer treatment’ medication such as Cimetidine and Ranitidine which are known to also dampen down histamine release. Occasionally we need to add sedating antihistamines such as Chlorphenamine or Hydroxyzine at night to get urticaria control. Leukotriene receptor antagonists currently used for asthma such as Montelukast (leukotriene receptor antagonists) have provided some symptom relief in chronic urticaria when used in combination with antihistamines. Oral antidepressant Doxepin is a good antihistamine but may induced drowsiness, while Doxepin cream (if available) can soothe the skin. Short courses of oral cortisone or steroids may be necessary for short periods (one to three days) to settle more severe symptoms and get control, however rebound urticaria after steroid use is a problem. Cortisone (Prednisolone) should not be used for prolonged periods of time as this may lead to stunted growth in children and osteoporosis in adults, therefore Depot (long acting)) steroid injections are discouraged. Although steroids initially suppress chronic urticaria, we find that on stopping them, the urticaria tends to rebound and become more diffficult to treat. Chlorphenamine and Loratadine are safe to use in early pregnancy, while Cetirizine and Loratadine are safe to take whilst breastfeeding.

Specialist urticaria testing in Chronic Urticaria may be necessary to exclude other underlying illnesses or to confirm the presence of ‘auto-antibodies’ in the blood stream (‘Anti IgE Receptor Autoantibodies’ and ‘Basophil Histamine Release’ can be measured). The Autologous Serum Skin Test (ASST) raises a weal on re-injection of the patients serum and is a good indicator of Auto-antibodies.

Highly specialised third line treatments may include Immunosuppressive drugs such as Ciclosporin (autoimmune urticaria), Methotrexate (non-autoimmune urticaria), and Sulphasalazine (Pressure urticaria). Androgen hormones, Thyroxine, Nifedipine and Warfarin have been used with variable efficacy as well. Colchicine and Dapsone are useful in treating Urticarial Vasculitis. If available, Immunoglobulin injections, Plasmaphoresis have been used. The use of a novel asthma drug, the anti-IgE monoclonal antibody Omalizumab (Xolair) may be necessary. Although expensive at £ 500 per month, the drug is effective at clearing chronic urticaria and has been approved as third line therapy for Chronic Urticaria by the US FDA and UK NICE guidelines.

Reference:

Powell RJ, Leech S, Till S et al, BSACI guidelines for the management of chronic urticaria and angio-oedema. Clin Exp Allergy 2015: 45; 547-565.

Greaves MW, Kaplan AP. Urticaria and Angioedema (Marcel Dekker 2004)

Copyright Dr Adrian Morris
Written November 2009, Reviewed July 2012 and August 2015

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Allergic Reaction: Read About Testing and Symptoms

Allergic Reaction Quick Overview

  • An allergic reaction is the body’s way of responding to an ‘invader.’ When the body senses a foreign substance, called an antigen, the immune system is triggered. The immune system normally protects the body from harmful agents such as bacteria and toxins. Its overreaction to a harmless substance (anallergen) is called a hypersensitivity reaction, or an allergic reaction.
  • Most allergic reactions are minor, such as a rash from poison ivy, mosquito or other bug bites, or sneezing from hay fever. The type of reaction depends on the person’s immune system response, which is sometimes unpredictable.
  • In rare cases, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening (known as anaphylaxis). The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimates that at least one in 50 Americans (1.6%), and as many as one in 20 (5.1%) have had anaphylaxis occur, resulting in an average of 186 to 225 deaths per year.
  • Allergies are very common. The AAFA states that allergies affect 50 million Americans, are the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S., and the third leading chronic disease among children under age 18. More than 40 million people have indoor/outdoor allergies as their primaryallergy. In 2012, more than 11 million people in the U.S. visited their doctor for allergic rhinitis, and allergies to food account for 200,000 visits to the emergency room and 10,000 hospitalizations annually.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/28/2015

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Fish Allergy

About Fish Allergy

A fish allergy is not exactly the same as a seafood allergy. Seafood includes both fish (like tuna or cod) and shellfish (like lobster or clams). Even though they both fall into the category of ‘seafood,’ fish and shellfish are biologically different. So shellfish will not cause an allergic reaction in someone who has a fish allergy – unless that person also has a shellfish allergy.

People with a fish allergy might be allergic to some types of fish but not others. Although most allergic reactions to fish happen when someone eats fish, sometimes people can react to touching fish or breathing in vapors from cooking fish.

A fish allergy can cause a very serious reaction, even if a previous reaction was mild. A child who has a fish allergy must completely avoid eating fish. Sometimes an allergist can test for allergies to specific types of fish, but until the culprits are known, it’s best for someone with a fish allergy to avoid all fish.

Fish allergy can develop at any age. Even people who have eaten fish in the past can develop an allergy. Some people outgrow certain food allergies over time, but those with fish allergies usually have that allergy for the rest of their lives.

If your child has been diagnosed with a fish allergy, keep injectable epinephrine on hand in case of a severe reaction. This is a medicine that your doctor can prescribe. Communicate emergency plans with anyone who will be taking care of your child, including relatives and school officials. Also consider having your child wear a medical alert bracelet.

What Happens in a Fish Allergy

When someone is allergic to fish, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in the fish. Every time the person eats (or, in some cases, handles or breathes in) fish, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders.

The immune system responds by working very hard to fend off the invader. This causes an allergic reaction, in which chemicals like histamine are released in the body. The release of these chemicals can cause someone to have these symptoms:

  • wheezing
  • trouble breathing
  • coughing
  • hoarseness
  • throat tightness
  • stomachache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • red spots
  • swelling
  • a drop in blood pressure, causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

Your child could have different reactions to different types of fish or react differently at different times. Some reactions can be very mild and involve only one system of the body, like hives on the skin. Other reactions can be more severe and involve more than one part of the body.

Anaphylaxis Is a Life-Threatening Reaction

Fish allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can begin with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction, but then can quickly worsen, leading someone to have trouble breathing or to pass out. If it is not treated, anaphylaxis can be life threatening.

If your child starts having serious allergic symptoms, like swelling of the mouth or throat or difficulty breathing, give the epinephrine auto-injector right away. Every second counts in an allergic reaction. Then call 911 or take the child to the emergency room. Your child needs to be under medical supervision because, even if the worst seems to have passed, it’s common for a second wave of serious symptoms to occur.

An epinephrine auto-injector is a prescription medicine that comes in an easy-to-carry container about the size of a large marker. It’s simple to use. If your child needs to have it on hand, your doctor will show you how to use it. Kids who are old enough can be taught how to give themselves the injection.

Staff at your child’s school should know that your son or daughter has a serious food allergy. You should agree upon a plan in case of a serious reaction and the injectable epinephrine must be available at all times. If your child is old enough to carry his or her own epinephrine, it should not be in a locker, but in a purse or backpack that’s with your child at all times.

Your child’s allergy plan also could include giving an over-the-counter antihistamine for milder allergy symptoms. But the antihistamine should be given after the epinephrine in the case of a serious, life-threatening reaction.

Fish Allergy Safety Tips

To prevent allergic reactions to fish, your child must not eat fish. Your child also must not eat any foods that might contain fish as ingredients. For detailed information, you can visit websites that your doctor recommends, such as the Food Allergy Research & Education network (FARE).

Also, read food labels to see if a food contains fish ingredients. (Fish may be found in unexpected places, such as certain salad dressings or barbecue sauces, so read labels on all foods.) Manufacturers of foods sold in the United States must state in understandable language whether foods contain any of the top eight most common allergens, including fish. The label should list ‘fish’ in the ingredient list or say ‘Contains fish’ after the list.

Also look for advisory statements such as ‘May contain fish,’ ‘Processed in a facility that also processes fish,’ or ‘Manufactured on equipment also used for fish.’ These are cross-contamination warnings, but manufacturers are not required to list them.

Since products without precautionary statements also might be cross-contaminated and the company simply chose not to label for it, it is always best to contact the company to see if the product could contain fish. You might find this information on the company’s website or you can contact a company representative via email.

Even if a food did not cause a reaction in the past, it still could be a problem. Manufacturers may change processes or ingredients at any time.

Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination often happens in restaurants, which is where many people often mistakenly eat fish. This happens in kitchens when fish gets into a food product because the staff use the same surfaces, utensils (like knives, cutting boards, or pans), or oil to prepare both fish and other foods.

This is particularly common in seafood restaurants, so some people find it safer to simply avoid these restaurants altogether. Since fish is also used in a lot of Asian cooking, there’s a risk of cross-contamination in Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, or Japanese restaurants. When eating at restaurants, it may be best to avoid fried foods, since many places cook chicken, French fries, and fish in the same oil.

Eating Away From Home

When your child eats in a restaurant or at a friend’s house, find out how foods are cooked and exactly what’s in them. It can be hard to ask a lot of questions about cooking methods, and to trust the information you get. If you can’t be certain that a food is fish-free, it’s best to bring safe food from home.

Also talk to the staff at school about cross-contamination risks for foods in the cafeteria. It may be best to pack lunches at home so you can control what’s in them.

If your child will be eating at a restaurant, take these precautions:

  • Stay away from steam tables or stovetops when fish are being cooked, since fish proteins can be released in the steam during cooking.
  • Tell the restaurant waitstaff that your child has as serious fish allergy.
  • Carry a personalized ‘chef card’ for your child, which can be given to the kitchen staff. The card details your child’s allergies for food preparers. Food allergy websites provide printable chef card forms in many different languages.
  • Don’t eat at a restaurant if the manager or owner seems uncomfortable about your requests for a safe meal.

This is why should always apply insect repellent b...

Hives and Your Skin

Urticaria, also known as hives, is an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps or plaques (wheals) on the skin that appear suddenly — either as a result of the body’s reaction to certain allergens, or for unknown reasons.

Hives usually cause itching, but may also burn or sting. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, or ears. Hives vary in size (from a pencil eraser to a dinner plate), and may join together to form larger areas known as plaques. They can last for hours, or up to one day before fading.

Angioedema is similar to hives, but the swelling occurs beneath the skin instead of on the surface. Angioedema is characterized by deep swelling around the eyes and lips and sometimes of the genitals, hands, and feet. It generally lasts longer than hives, but the swelling usually goes away in less than 24 hours.

Rarely, angioedema of the throat, tongue, or lungs can block the airways, causing difficulty breathing. This may become life threatening.

What Causes Hives and Angioedema?

Allergic hives and angioedema form when, in response to histamine, blood plasma leaks out of small blood vessels in the skin. Histamine is a chemical released from specialized cells along the skin’s blood vessels.

Allergic reactions, chemicals in certain foods, insect stings, sunlight exposure, or medications can all cause histamine release. It’s often impossible to find out exactly why hives have formed.

There are several different types of hives, including:

Acute urticaria: Hives lasting less than six weeks. The most common causes are certain foods, medications, or infections. Insect bites and internal disease may also be responsible.

The most common foods that cause hives are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, fresh berries, and milk. Fresh foods cause hives more often than cooked foods. Certain food additives and preservatives may also be to blame.

Drugs that can cause hives and angioedema include aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, high blood pressure drugs ( ACE inhibitors), or painkillers such as codeine.

Chronic urticaria and angioedema: Hives lasting more than six weeks. The cause of this type of hives is usually more difficult to identify than those causing acute urticaria. For most people with chronic urticaria, the cause is impossible to determine. In some cases, though, the cause may be thyroid disease, hepatitis, infection, or cancer.