It's Food Allergy Awareness Week! Help us spread food allergy education by sharing our infographics below about food allergies.
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What is a food allergy? A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts by causing symptoms. This is an allergic reaction. Foods that cause allergic reactions are allergens.
A severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis (anna-fih-LACK-sis). The symptoms of anaphylaxis may occur shortly after having contact with an allergen and can get worse quickly.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis usually involve more than one part of the body such as the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, heart, gut, and brain. Some symptoms include:
- Skin rashes and itching and hives
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing (whistling sound during breathing)
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea
- Feeling like something awful is about to happen
You can’t predict how your child will react to a certain allergen from one time to the next. So, it’s important for you to be prepared for all allergic reactions, especially anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis must be treated right away to provide the best chance for improvement and prevent serious, potentially life-threatening complications.
You cannot rely on over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl to treat anaphylaxis. The first line of treatment for severe allergic reaction is epinephrine. Epinephrine is safe and comes in an easy-to-use device called an auto-injector.
Sometimes, a reaction is followed by a second, more severe, reaction known as a biphasic reaction. This second reaction can occur within 4 to 8 hours of the first reaction or even later. Your child should be watched in the emergency room for several hours after anaphylaxis.
More Than Food Allergies
May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. This year, we want to dispel myths and help others see beyond food allergies. We are raising awareness about how food allergies are more than just a physical condition. They impact every aspect of life. But they don't have to define your child. Show us how your child is #morethanfoodallergies.