Monthly Archives: December 2017

Wheat Allergy Causes and Symptoms

Like most allergies, a wheat allergy is terrible because of the prolific nature of wheat in our society. You can find it in a myriad of products, and to get similar products without it is quite a task. What are the symptoms and causes of wheat allergy? I will explain them all very shortly.

Wheat allergy is among the more common allergy for kids, and though some can grow out of this allergy (usually by 3 or 5), there are a fair amount who have it for life. You can usually grasp the situation of their allergy rather easily, as symptoms will appear soon after eating any wheat products. It can also onset in adult times, but it is more likely for people to have it as children.

Your doctor may confuse it for celiac, which has very similar symptoms but comes from a different source. Celiac is based off the gluten in wheats and breads, and is more a sensitivity than a allergy, but nonetheless the symptoms appear very similar. A true wheat allergy though is caused by certain proteins in the wheat. The body has falsely recognized them as dangerous, and thereby releases histamines to destroy the protein.

These histamines are what cause irritation, runny nose, coughing, cold like symptoms, and for the worst sufferers anaphylaxis shock (constricting of throat, passing out, chest pains, problems breathing, pale skin, and dizziness are associated with anaphylaxis).

Often to stop them, an antihistamine can be very effective, as it would block the histamines from attempting to attack this false intruder. However, in the worst case, anaphylaxis scenario, you should have a doctor prescribe you an Epi Pen. This “pen” will administer a shot of epinephrine (a type of adrenaline) to wake you from an unconscious state. Unfortunately, at this point these are the only sure fire “cures” to help alleviate wheat allergy symptoms.

You already know that breads products should be watched out for. But you should also watch out for other grains. Barley, for instance, has similar proteins to wheat and thereby can cause the same symptoms. Perhaps not at first, but repeated exposure will make the body more vulnerable to this possibility. Oats and rye are not excluded either.

Other products to what out for are: cakes/muffins, beer, cereals, pastas, couscous, soy sauce, condiments, meat substitutes, some ice creams, natural flavoring, and food starch. All of these are possible triggers to your allergy (some obviously more than others). Always make sure to read the ingredients label before purchasing, and if the ingredients lists natural flavors, research until you find out what the flavors originate from. This information can usually be found online with a little bit of work, so it shouldn’t be a difficult task.

Now, there is also a variety of wheat allergy that does not come from purely ingesting wheat, but from inhaling the flour. Known commonly as “baker’s asthma,” the version of the allergy primarily deals with constriction of breathing and comes from the flour. While less common, you should try to keep your kids away from flour just in case.

All it takes is a little patience to find comparable foods, and a keen eye to read the ingredients label to ensure you or your child will not get sick from wheat. While most foods will state allergens near the end, read the entire label just to make sure, as they may try to hide it.

Information about wheat allergies found at: http://mayoclinic.com/health/wheat-allergy/DS01002

What to Expect from an Allergy Test

Our bodies have built-in mechanisms to keep us safe from all the harmful bacteria and viruses that constantly bombard us as we go about our daily lives. Harmful substances called antigens, such as germs, trigger an immune response when our bodies’ security systems detect an invasion. If you have allergies, your body will sound the alarm at seemingly harmless, everyday substances. These can include pet dander, pollen, certain foods and bees.

An allergic reaction occurs when the body responds to these alleged threats, and its effects can range from mild to serious. You might experience cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and watery eyes, or your reaction may be more severe with swelling, hives and even anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal and requires immediate treatment with epinephrine.

If you have been suffering from symptoms like these and have not figured out the specific cause, a simple allergy test may be the next logical step. Tests done to detect allergies are fairly straightforward, with almost instant results in most cases.

Skin Test
The most common allergy test is the skin prick test, where a series of allergens are placed on the skin and rubbed in. If the skin reacts to a particular substance, you will know at least one of the causes of your allergies. Often, multiple allergies are discovered during these tests. Since your reaction or lack thereof determines the results, you can know the answer within about 15 minutes.

Skin allergy tests take place in a doctor’s office and take about 30 minutes to complete. This type of test is safe, effective and approved for use on young children and even infants. The risk of side effects is minimal, and since the doctor is there to monitor the test, counteractive measures can be immediately taken.

Blood Test
Some patients have conditions that prevent them from taking the typical skin allergy test. These include skin conditions that would interfere with the test or be exacerbated by the allergens, certain medications, and people with heart problems. In those cases, the doctor will order a blood test to check for allergies.

The blood test most doctors use is the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which binds the potential allergen to antibodies, then checks the level of reaction by introducing a developer that changes the color. In a person with a high immune response to an allergen, the color will be darker, indicating a positive result.

Blood testing for allergies is more costly and the results much slower than the typical skin prick test, so this test is usually reserved for cases when the skin test will not work or does not respond as expected. There is no risk of allergic reaction since the allergen never interacts with the blood while it is in the body. Results from this test typically take 7-10 days to be available.

If you suffer from allergy symptoms, an allergy test can be the next step on a path toward relief and return to a normal, symptom-free life. Knowing your allergies will help you avoid them, begin appropriate treatment or preventive measures, and begin to enjoy the life you lived before allergies took over.