Food Allergies – A Mini Documentary by LiU iGEM
12
October

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


The immune system reacts in an unnecessary
way when exposed to a food allergy We have our immune system to protect us against different harmful microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses so one important task for the immune system is to react at foreign objects at try to incapacitate it. But it’s also important to only react to what is harmful and foreign and not to what is harmless and foreign and that is where it goes wrong when having an allergic reaction, the immune system reacts to foreign
substances as if they were harmful My allergies have been discovered gradually throughout my childhood, everything from those I was assumed being allergic to for example, since my mother is allergic to peanut I have by myself never tried and discovered that I am allergic to peanuts but it has been confirmed by blood tests. Other allergies has been discovered along the way everything from pollen to fur, all fruits and vegetables, leguminous plants, lactose intolerant, all nuts, almonds and airborne allergic to peanuts. I have a son whom today is 22 years old He is allergic to nuts, leguminous plants and birch pollen It all started when he was 11 years old and he got hives all over his body Later he also reacted to a chocolate bar with nuts which led to his throat started to swell and he got difficult to breath. Anaphylaxis is when you get a strong reaction and the reaction usually occurs within two hour but most react within a few minutes after they consumed a food substance they are allergic to A rapid allergic reaction means that you can see symptoms very shortly after an allergenic substance has been consumed This rapid reaction is due to mast cells which is found in the body tissues that already has bound antibodies specific to that substance So they are already in place and are ready
to respond very quickly when encountering the substance. What happens when you get an allergic
reaction is that you get disorders with various organs You can get difficulties with the lungs and breathing problems you can get hives on the skin, loads of itching you can get severe diarrhea and you can even die when having an
anaphylactic shock. So it is important that you know what
you are allergic to and how to treat it My allergies affects me when traveling abroad already when I board the airplane without anyone eating peanuts if you get an anaphylactic shock in an airplane it has to make an emergency landing This has happened to my mother as the staff did not want to call out for peanut allergy I was in Sweden when this happened and I got a call from my mother who was in a hospital in Geneva She did not want to tell me what have
happened since she did not want to make me worried but given the voice you get after anaphylaxis as your trachea has been completely closed and you have not received any air puts enormous pressure on the vocal chords and you can feel it several weeks afterwards She sounded like Donald Duck but with less voice and I knew something had happened since I myself suffer from allergy Also, they generally do not have the same
high standards in certain countries when it comes to declare the content of the products answer what the food they serve contains but also generally less competence about allergies Many times have I had to leave a restaurant since the staff did not know what the food contained One problem has been that you can’t go out and eat at a restaurant in the same way any longer without being worried if they have understood my son’s allergy likewise if he should buy ready-made food, it’s not so easy to do that In the past year we have in Sweden become clearer printing allergenic substances on content lists which makes it easier to know what to avoid but there are still many packages which doesn’t list all substances It’s important that you know what you eat and if you shall eat something for the first time or if you are on a restaurant and are uncertain of the content it’s important that you have an epinephrine pen and can get treated nearby. These terms are not entirely easy when we say allergy, we mean that you have these allergy antibodies and you can get these rapid reactions even from very small amounts It’s therefore important that people with
allergies know although there is very small amounts of
peanuts in a product it can lead to a severe allergic reaction Lactose intolerance is when one reacts to milk, but it isn’t harmful in small amounts. Those who are lactose intolerant lacks an
enzyme that breaks down milk sugar so it has nothing to do with nether allergy
antibodies or the immune system In coeliac disease is the immune system
involved but no allergy antibodies but rather other forms of immune response to gluten Ignorance and lack of knowledge is
the biggest problem How will you know of you don’t understand the consequences? How will you be able to respect it? The first years resulted in several visits with ambulance to the hospital his throat was swollen and he couldn’t breathe and yes, I have been afraid A couple of times have they called and said they have my son on the way in to the hospital and that I should come, of course you get worried In the case of a food allergy, the most important thing is to avoid the allergic substance you have to read table of contents and it can sometimes be hard to know it all and it is then good to ask a dietician for help If you by chance accidentally consume an
allergic substance it is important that you use your epinephrine pen directly and not wait with it in your hand when the
ambulance comes I know I’m difficult but can you check
so there are no peanuts in the couch? Otherwise I’m going to be really allergic How many demands can be made on my fellows? How much can I require people to adapt to me at the same time as it comes to my life? It’s a consideration that is very difficult for me as an allergist to do I don’t want to complicate it for other but I have to make it through every day without the risk of getting a reaction It is hard to know how much I have to ensure my surroundings and what is to ask for to high demands.


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