Food allergy has become one of the significant health issues in recent times. With growing use of insecticide and pesticides and genetic modification of grains more and more people are suffering from food allergies. Gluten allergy is a common food allergy. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, corn, rye, oats and barley. It is common in United States.
Gluten allergy can affect both children and adults; however the ratio is more in children. Most children outgrow gluten allergy after the age of 3 years. Patient having gluten allergy may complain of itching, hives, asthma, sinusitis, abdominal pain etc.There is no medicine to cure gluten allergy, though there are medicines available to reduce the severity of gluten allergy symptoms. The only way to treat gluten allergy is to avoid eating gluten containing foods.
What Are The Causes Of Gluten Allergy?
Food allergy occurs when the immune system of body mistakenly identifies a compound or a protein present in food to be harmful. In response to this, it produces allergy causing antibodies. Once the body develops an antibody to a particular substance, in this case gluten, the immune system becomes sensitive to it.The next time when you eat gluten containing food, the immune system responds by releasing histamine chemicals to fight it. This gives rise to set of symptoms which we call it as allergy symptoms. In this case it is gluten allergy symptoms.
A person who is allergic to gluten may be allergic to all the food products that contain gluten in it. Common gluten containing foods prepared from wheat are, bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, crackers, beer, semolina, Farina, vegetable gum etc. people who are allergic to wheat may also have rye, oats and barley allergy.
Risk factors for gluten allergy increase when your parents or siblings are allergic to gluten. Children below the age of 3, whose immune system is not well developed may suffer from gluten allergy. But with passing time, most children outgrows gluten allergy.
Symptoms Of Allergic Reaction To Gluten
There are several symptoms of gluten allergy but not all are present at a time. The severity also varies from person to person. When an adult or a child eats food that contains gluten, the symptoms may be experienced within minutes or after few hours. The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in abdomen or cramps in abdomen.
- Flatulence and Gas.
- Peptic ulcer.
- Skin rash and itching.
- Hives and weal.
- Fatigue and lethargy.
- Hyperactive behavior.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Deficiency of vitamins and minerals.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Migraine headache.
- Congestion of nose.
- Itching and swelling in mouth and throat.
- Anaphylactic reaction: it is a life threatening rare allergic state. The reaction occurs immediately after ingestion of gluten containing food. Anaphylaxis reaction requires immediate treatment. Swelling in throat, breathing difficulty, swollen lips and eyes, perspiration, skin turns pale and blue, dizziness, low blood pressure and in extreme cases seizures and death.
How To Avoid Gluten Allergy And Treat Symptoms?
Two most important steps that are necessary for a person who is suffering from gluten allergy are: Avoid gluten containing foods; secondly take prompt treatment if you are exposed to gluten food accidentally.
If the child has gluten allergy, you should inform the same to teacher and the school nurse. The school nurse should be made aware of signs and symptoms that your child has with gluten allergy.
Read the labels before purchasing any food and purchase only those foods that are marked gluten free. Eat foods that can substitute wheat and corn. These foods include rice, millet, lentil, arrow root, potato flour, Quinoa, tapioca flour etc.
Some cosmetic products contain wheat starch, wheat germ oil, or wheat flour. These products can cause skin allergy and other problems. Therefore always read the ingredients in the cosmetic before using them if you are allergic to gluten.
Gluten Allergy Symptoms Treatment
- Eat more fiber food and drink water. Fiber food will adhere with the waste and help in eliminating gluten from the colon.
- Eat yogurt, it is a natural pro-biotic that helps in digestion.
- In case of itching and skin rash, you can take over the counter anti histamine.