This may not be common knowledge, but there is a link between asthma and food allergies. More than a third of children with food allergies have asthma, and about eight percent of children with asthma have a food allergy. Food allergies are thought to be hidden asthma triggers and can lead to potentially life-threatening asthma attacks. If you develop food allergies early in life, you have a greater chance of developing breathing problems such as asthma later in life. Doctors aren’t sure why contact with food allergens causes asthma attacks, but it may have something to do with the inflammatory response that triggers food allergies in the immune system.
A food allergy is your immune system’s response to a food it perceives as harmful. Symptoms of a food allergy include reactions to the skin, eyes, nose, mouth, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems. An asthma attack is one possible respiratory response. An asthma attack occurs when something triggers airway hypersensitivity. Contact with food allergens is one possible trigger.
Symptoms of asthma include swelling and inflammation of the airways, bronchospasm (tightening of the muscles around the airways) and blockage of the airways with mucus. It can take between six and 48 hours for an asthma attack to become serious. Warning signs include an increased pulse rate, wheezing, feeling restless and a reduced ability to exhale. If you think you are having an asthma attack, go to the doctor and/or take the medication you have been prescribed. When you go to see your doctor, be prepared to tell him the circumstances surrounding your symptoms, including what foods you eat.
Because a skin prick test, in which your doctor applies a small amount of an allergen to a scratch on your skin, can cause a dangerous reaction, he or she is more likely to order an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) test to check for antibodies in your blood. . If a food allergy is confirmed, you should avoid contact with all allergens to prevent symptoms from returning. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to treat your system if you come into contact with an allergen or experience asthma symptoms.