Anaphylaxis is life threatening. It must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is a generalised allergic reaction, which often involves more than one body system e.g. skin, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular. A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis usually occurs within 20 minutes to 2 hours of exposure to the trigger and rapidly becomes life threatening. Anaphylaxis is not an intolerance to food, it is a life threatening allergy to anything that causes a reaction. So what should you avoid?
Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy cause 90 percent of allergic reactions. Yet, any food can trigger anaphylaxis. It is important to understand that in some people even very small amounts of food can cause a life-threatening reaction. Some extremely sensitive individuals can react to just the smell of particular foods being cooked, fish for example, or even kissing someone who has eaten the food they are allergic to.
Bites and Stings
Bee, wasp and jack jumper ant stings are the most common triggers of insect sting anaphylaxis. Ticks, green ants and fire ants can also trigger anaphylaxis in susceptible individuals.
Medications, both over the counter and prescribed, can cause life threatening allergic reactions. Individuals can also have anaphylactic reactions to herbal or ‘alternative’ medicines.
Other triggers such as latex or exercise induced anaphylaxis are less common. Occasionally the trigger cannot be identified, despite extensive investigation.
Many people think they are allergic to a food when in fact they are intolerant. Unlike food allergies, intolerances do not involve the body’s immune system. Slower in onset and not life threatening, food intolerance symptoms include headaches, bloating, wind, nausea, mouth ulcers or hives.
Symptoms that occur several hours after a food is eaten are more often as a result of an intolerance or enzyme deficiency rather than a food allergy.
A food allergy is not:
The inability to digest a food;
An aversion to a food or disliking a food;
A reaction to a food additive.
The signs and symptoms of a food allergic reaction may occur almost immediately after eating or most often within 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating. Rapid onset and development of potentially life threatening symptoms are characteristic markers of anaphylaxis.
Allergic symptoms may initially appear mild or moderate but can progress very quickly. The most dangerous allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) involve the respiratory system (breathing) and/or cardiovascular system (heart and blood pressure).
Difficult and/or noisy breathing, swelling of the face, lips and eyes, swelling of the tongue, vomiting and abdominal pain, swelling or tightness in the throat, tingling of the mouth, difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice, wheeze or persistent cough, persistent dizziness or collapse in its place, pale and floppy (in young children).
Think you, or someone you know, may be at risk?
How to Make Nut-Free Granola Bars by Ilyse Schapiro, paediatric dietitian and nutritionist.
Ingredients for Nut-Free Granola Bars So, to make the peanut-free Granola bars, first you need:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- tsp. vanilla extract
Mix the Ingredients for Nut-Free Granola Bars So, in a large bowl, you're going to mix the oats, the brown sugar, cinnamon, wheat germ, flour, raisins, and salt -- you're going to mix this together. So, next you're going to make a well in the centre and pour in the honey, the egg, the oil, the apple sauce, and the vanilla -- you're going to mix this well. Then you're going to pour into a pan and bake in the oven at 350°F for about 30-35 minutes.