[Book] Food Allergies for Dummies & Explaining... Asthma
I picked up some non-fiction books which I rarely do; One for food allergies and the other for asthma. I came up with a thought that I need to understand them at least at some minimum level of knowledge, for myself, my wife and my daughters, and friends as well.
1. Food Allergies for Dummies
Title: Food Allergies for Dummies
Authors: Robert A. Wood and Joe Kraynak
Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Well, yes. This is another "For Dummies." Recently, I got interested in food allergies for some reasons, so I decided to learn a little. I find this book is very well organized with enough information for beginners. What I was particularly interested in were sea foods, dairy, and atopic conditions. Here are some quotes I want to note.
Exploring Common Signs and Symptoms
Food allergy may present with a wide array of signs and symptoms. (The term present is doctor lingo for how a condition shows up in your body.) Food reactions typically involve the following three major organ systems in your body along with a fourth system that plays a role in severe reactions:
- Skin, such as hives or eczema
- Gastrointestinal tract, including nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea
- Respiratory tract, including rhinitis (sneezing, runny nose) and difficulty breathing (or asthma)
- Cardiovascular system, sometimes involved in severe reactions (see the section "Uncovering anaphylaxis: The shocking story," later in this chapter for more information)
Some reactions are isolated to a single system, such as hives on the skin, while others may involve multiple systems, as sometimes occurs in an anaphylactic reaction. This myriad of presentations is one of the many reasons why some food allergies are so difficult to diagnose.
- page 42
Of course there are some terms I am not familiar with.
Hives (or Urticaria): Reddish raised itchy areas that form on the skin often as the result of an allergic reaction, or a variety of other causes. (from this book)
Eczema: A persistent rash that is characterized by extreme dryness and itching of the skin and may or may not be caused by a food allergy. When food allergy is involved, the condition is commonly referred to as atopic dermatitis. (from this book)
Nausea: Nausea is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It may precede vomiting, but a person can have nausea without vomiting. When prolonged, it is a debilitating symptom. (from Wikipedia)
Prying into shellfish allergies
When you're dealing with a shellfish allergy, you may be tempted to lump all shellfish together, but they're actually divided into two major groups:
- Crustacea, including shrimp, crab, and lobster
- Mollusks, including clams, scallops, oyster, and mussels
Complete shellfish avoidance is usually the rule one a shellfish allergy develops, although many people with a crustacea allergy may be able to tolerate mollusks, and vice versa. Discuss this with your allergist before indulging.
- page 56
Crustacea & Mollusks. Interesting to know they can be grouped into two, even though after heard once you can easily see the obvious difference between the two.
Atopic: Of or relating to allergies or asthma. Atopic conditions include asthama, hay fever, and some types of eczema.
Atopic dermatitis: Eczema that's triggered by or made worse by an allergic condition. See also Eczema.
Itching with eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Eczema (or atopic dermatitis) is a chronic skin condition characterized by extreme dryness and itchiness. It typically begins early in life and hits its peak prevalence at about one year of age. At that point, 15 to 20 percent of all one-year-olds have some degree of eczema, ranging from extremely mild to involving only tiny areas of skin to extremely severe cases involving the entire body.
Tracing eczema back to food allergy requires some savvy detective work for various reasons.
- Eczema may not involve food allergy. Your doctor may not even suspect food allergy as the cause. Other factors that can contribute to eczema's onset and severity include
. Genetic susceptibility
. Certain types of clothing
. Soaps or detergents
- Food reactions that trigger eczema are typically low-grade and difficult to identify.
- Reactions may be delayed by several hours.
- Symptoms can wax and wane over time, due to temperature, humidity, and environmental irritants.
- Foods that typically eczema are common foods eaten on a very regular basis. If you drink milk or eat wheat several times a day, detecting any clear connection between a specific food and your eczema symptoms can be nearly impossible.
Based on a large number of studies, we know that food allergy is at the root of about 40 percent of all cases of children with moderate to severe eczema. This means that at least 50 percent of children with eczema, including some with severe eczema, do not have food allergy. For the remainder, however, identifying the underlying food allergy and restricting the allergic foods often leads to a marked improvement in symptoms. And given that eczema is an extraordinarily uncomfortable condition due to the severe itching that it creates, anything that makes you more comfortable is of extreme value.
When food allergy is involved in eczema, the five most common food allergens are the prime suspects - egg, milk, peanut, soy, and wheat. Other foods can certainly be involved, but these top five are the most important to remember. In fact, if a child with eczema tests negative to these five foods by either skin testing or blood testing, the likelihood of any food allergy is extremely low.
- page 43 & 44
Five foods to remember. Hmm. Maybe I should try one by one.
2. Explaining... Asthma
Title: Explaing... Asthma
Author: Angela Royston
Publisher: Franlink Watts
This book is very thin with lots of pictures. I find this is concise yet informative. Again, this is one of the "explaining..." series, so I'm pretty sure that other books are also written in the same manner.
Asthma is a condition that affects people's breathing because it narrows the tubes in the lungs, making it difficult for someone to breathe in and out.
- page 8
An asthma attack
When someone has an asthma attack, they find it very hard to breathe in and out. They gasp for breath and can have great difficulty forcing air into and out of their lungs. Some people with asthma have more serious attacks than other people and may feel as though they are suffocating. In extreme cases, if someone has a very severe attack, it can kill them if they do not get the necessary medical treatment in time. People with asthma usually have special inhalers that they use to relieve the symptoms. An asthma attack can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours.
- page 9
I think I learned some about food allergies and asthma even though this is a very beginning step to know them. Satisfied.
12 July 2016