Lesson 5

Food Allergy Information Guide

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You will now take a look at an allergy information guide prepared by students in the previous training class.

To complete your information guide, you will use the information on this guide to add to or correct the information in your guide. Make sure that your additions/corrections use a different colored pencil or pen so that you can distinguish between your original work and your revisions.

Creating a Food Allergy Information Guide

Information about food allergies

Negative food reactions and food allergies

  • People can have a number of different negative reactions to food.
  • Negative reactions to food include
    • food poisoning
    • food intolerances, and
    • food allergies
  • A food allergy is an inappropriate response of the immune system to a food.

Diagnosing food allergies

  • It is important to obtain a food history that answers questions such as these:
    • What type of food triggers the allergy symptoms?
    • How was the trigger food prepared?
    • How much of the trigger food was eaten?
    • How soon after eating the trigger food did symptoms appear?
    • Which symptoms occurred?
  • A positive skin prick test can show that the trigger food produces an inappropriate immune response.

The immune system and food allergies

  • Food allergens are usually proteins.
  • The allergen enters the bloodstream through the small intestine.
  • After the initial exposure to the allergen, IgE antibodys specific to the allergen become attached to the surface of mast cells.
  • The allergen binds to IgE antibodies causing the mast cells to release histamine.
  • Histamine acts on nearby cells to produce the symptoms of food allergy.
  • Anaphylaxis is a severe immune response that can be life-threatening.

Managing and treating food allergies

  • The main way to manage a food allergy is to avoid the trigger food.
  • Food avoidance involves careful reading of food labels.
  • When dining out, a person with a food allergy should provide the wait staff with an allergy card that describes the allergy.
  • If anaphylaxis occurs, and immediate injection of epinephrine is needed.