Allergies are a real plague of modern medicine. On the one hand, we have all heard of them, while on the other, there is little knowledge among the general population.
We usually associate allergies with food allergies, asthma, or hay fever. We know that food, pollen, or our environment may act as an allergen.
What we generally do not know, is that allergic reactions in the body may occur in different ways and involve different mechanisms, and we require this knowledge in order to better understand our body and avoid unnecessary exposure.
Modern medicine distinguishes several types of allergic reactions, calling them different types of hypersensitivity. What the patient should know is that some reactions occur instantly (early allergy, IgE dependent allergy, anaphylaxis), while others manifest only several hours after exposure. This is especially important with food allergies and intolerances. Food intolerances, also known as delayed onset food allergy, develop only few days after consuming the particular food, causing various symptoms. In children we usually see otitis, respiratory Inflammation, constipation or colics, and chronic skin conditions. In adults these are migraines, inflammation in the joints, swelling, autoaggressive diseases such as thyroid problems, or other symptoms mistakenly associated with other diseases.
Another useful fact for patients, is that allergies may cross react. A typical example of cross-reactivity in allergy is allergy response after eating some foods by patients with pollen or other inhalant allergens (e.g. birch or latex).
These symptoms appear because of fragments of proteins, called epitopes, which are identical to the ones contained in food.
An allergic body does not “see” any difference between such apparently distinct substances as, e.g. pollen and tomatoes, which makes it react violently, with e.g. hay fever, burning eyes and nose, “stuffy nose”, itching and burning in the mouth, or with a suffocating coughing fit. Often, there is also some reaction from the digestive system, such as reflux (regurgitation of digested food, popularly called “heartburn”), stomach aches, nausea and vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, or intestinal hypersensitivity. The severity of these symptoms increases with age.
Detailed information regarding cross-reactivity (in Polish) can be found here
For copyright reasons we cannot reproduce them on our page.
Please pay particular attention to table 3, compiled by Prof. Krzysztof Buczyłko.
In case of allergies, it is necessary to eliminate all cross-reacting allergens from the menu. This is why we always suggest an extensive diagnosis for food intolerances.