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Food Allergies

Rice, which is the staple food of most Asians, can also cause allergy to a few people. I came across one case which I noticed a student was taking breads for his three meals a day. He told me he was allergic to rice. He would have breathing difficulty after taking a meal of rice.

When you are allergic to a certain food, your immune system mistakes the proteins in the food as harmful and attacks them. You medical doctor can diagnose it with a pin prick test or Rast test ( radioallergeosorbent ), a more sophisticated blood test.

The minor allergic reactions are rashes, and itchiness of the month. The severe and life threatening ones are chocking, breathing difficulty, and severe drop in blood pressure to below 90/60.

Other known food which may cause allergy are fish, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, melons, beans, peas, tomatoes, turmeric, garlic, chickpeas, bird’s nest, cow’s milk, and crustacean. Life threatening reactions cause by peanuts and tree nuts, which is common in the United States and Britain, is uncommon in Asia.

In normal people, the proteins from the food are tolerated. For people who are allergic to them, the body cannot tolerate the proteins, resulting in the allergic reactions.

Symptoms of food allergy are : anaphylaxis ( fatal reaction),itchiness, shortness of breath, chest pains, swelling of the airways to the lungs, rashes or hives, nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Anaphylaxis, which is life threatening, can be treated by an injection of hormone epinephrine which stops the chain reactions.

However, if you have heart burn, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, stomach pain, gas, craps and bloating, or vomiting, you may be suffering only from food intolerance. Food intolerance is not a food allergy as it does not involve the immune system. The best and safest thing to do is to visit the nearest medical doctor and ask for his or her opinion. Food intolerance is diagnosed by trial-and-error method. You may maintain a food diary and identify the food which causes discomfort to you personally.

At the moment, there is no cure for food allergies. Research is ongoing and hopefully we may find the cure in the near future.