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Natural Health and Science – Combined

Allergy & Food Intolerances

There are many causes and symptoms of allergens, which can range from mild to life threatening.

 Allergy vs Food Intolerances – What is the difference ?

Allergies

Allergy symptoms occur when your immune system overreacts to an allergen; something that usually is harmless such as plant pollen, dust mites, molds, insect stings or food. If you have an allergy, your immune system acts as if the allergen were dangerous, releasing IgE antibodies to fight off the allergen by mistake even though the allergen itself is normally harmless.

These are the antibodies that are measured in an IgE allergy test. An IgE allergy test is a type of blood test used to diagnose allergic reactions. The test exposes a sample of your blood to a range of suspected allergens and measures the amount of antibodies which may be triggering your allergic reaction. The blood test measures the actual quantity of IgE antibodies you have for each specific allergen. One allergy blood test can check for dozens of different allergens at one time.

See information at the end of this section for the IgE allergy tests that we offer.

Allergy symptoms will vary depending on the type of allergen.

Some common triggers to allergies are:-

  • Food
  • Skin
  • Dust mite and cockroaches
  • Pets
  • Moulds
  • Insect sting
  • Drugs
  • Latex
  • Hay fever

Food Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may involve the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory tract. They can surface in one or more of the following ways:

  • Vomiting and/or stomach cramps
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Repetitive cough
  • Shock or circulatory collapse
  • Tight, hoarse throat; trouble swallowing
  • Swelling of the tongue, affecting the ability to talk or breathe
  • Weak pulse
  • Pale or blue coloring of skin
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Anaphylaxis seek urgent medical attention

Skin Allergy Symptoms

  • Your skin may become dry, red, irritated, itchy.
  • Sometimes, especially when infected, your skin may have small,
    fluid-filled bumps that ooze a clear or yellowish liquid.
  • red bumps or welts
  • rash, blisters, itching and burning

Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Red, itchy or teary eyes
  • Wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath
  • Itching

Pet Allergy Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
  • Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Watery, red or itchy eyes

Insect Sting Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling (in area of sting and sometimes beyond)
  • Flushing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Anaphylaxis seek urgent medical attention

Drug Allergy Symptoms

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Wheezing or other breathing problems
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis seek urgent medical attention

Mould Allergy Symptoms

  • sneezing;
  • runny or stuffy nose;
  • itchy throat or inside of ears;
  • hives;
  • swollen eyelids and itchy eyes
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • trouble breathing

Hayfever Allergy Symptoms – (allergic rhinitis)

Allergic rhinitis takes two different forms:
 
Seasonal: Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis can occur in spring, summer and early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to airborne mould spores or to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.

Perennial: People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms year-round. It is generally caused by dust mites, pet hair, dander, cockroaches or mould. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms

Some people may experience both types of rhinitis, with perennial symptoms getting worse during specific pollen seasons. There are also nonallergic causes for rhinitis

Hay Fever Symptoms

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes, mouth or skin
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion
  • Fatigue (often reported due to poor quality sleep as a result of nasal obstruction)

Food Intolerances

As we spend many of our waking hours eating and drinking it can be difficult to determine when we experience certain symptoms like the severity of migraine headaches, rashes (such as hives) or the stomach upset of irritable bowel whether it is triggered by allergy or the substances, which are contained in the foods we eat.

The foods that tend to cause intolerance reactions in sensitive people include:

  • dairy products, including milk, cheese and yoghurt
  • chocolate
  • eggs, particularly egg white
  • flavour enhancers such as MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • food additives
  • strawberries, citrus fruits and tomatoes
  • wine, particularly red wine, histamine and other amines in some foods

Natural substances in foods which may trigger a food intolerance:

Natural Chemicals are found in the foods we eat. Food is composed of protein, carbohydrate, fat and various nutrients as well as a number of natural chemicals. These naturally occurring molecules often add flavour and smell to food. Sometimes they will trigger symptoms in unlucky individuals.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG, additive numbers 620 and 621) Glutamates also occur naturally in such foods as camembert cheese, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce and mushrooms. MSG stimulates nerve endings, perhaps accounting for its function as a flavour enhancer when it is added to food.

Vasoactive Amines such as tyramine, serotonin and histamine are well known triggers of migraines in some patients and are present naturally in pineapples, bananas, baked meat, vegetables, red wine, wood-matured white wine, avocados, chocolate, citrus fruits and mature cheese. Amines can act directly on small blood vessels to expand their capacity, perhaps accounting for their effect on flushing, migraines and nasal congestion in some patients.

Salicylates are natural aspirin like compounds (aspirin was originally isolated from the willow tree bark) present in a wide variety of herbs, spices as well as fruit and vegetables. Reactions to these may be even more common than reactions to artificial colours and preservatives. Aspirin can trigger hives (urticaria) by acting directly on skin mast cells. Natural and structurally similar salicylates can also worsen hives in some patients.

Toxins Other than contamination of food with micro-organisms or their products (spoilage, food poisoning), some foods contain toxins than can cause severe symptoms. For example, if some types of fish are stored poorly, their gut bacteria can convert histidine to histamine, resulting in allergy-like symptoms.

Irritants. Caffeine and curry are gut irritants and can trigger indigestion in some people.

Our approach at Perth Allergy Clinic is a conservative one and we aim to understand any adverse reactions you may be experiencing. We firstly do this by:-

  • taking a thorough personal and family case history
  • addressing any gut related problems i.e. leaky gut
  • keeping a food and symptoms diary to check for reactive patterns
  • removing all suspect foods for several weeks
  • reintroducing them one at a time to test for reactions
  • evaluating lifestyle factors which may play a role in the amplification of these reactions

Alongside our Naturopathic and Nutritional approach above, we offer a comprehensive range of food intolerance testing.

Testing Options

IP -100

  • Provides an individual analysis of the 90 most important foodstuffs. You will receive detailed documentation of our findings
  • An individual book of results that lists those of the 90 foodstuffs to which IgG antibodies have been detected
  • A patient manual that provides you with background information and many hints and aids for a successful change in diet

IP – 300

  • Provides a detailed analysis of your reaction to 270 common problem foods 
    including meats, vegetables, dairy, fruits, spices, thickening agents and preservatives
  • A detailed test report to all 270 foodstuffs highlighting the level of intolerance to each of the trigger foods
  • A personalised Food Rotation Plan and Manual based on your test results
  • A customised recipe book to help you avoid problem foods, without sacrificing enjoyment and variety in your diet.