Autumn and Food Allergies

The autumn season, because it is the season of harvests and storage, is also, from yesteryear, a time of great festivals, festivals, fairs and pilgrimages that celebrate abundance and prosperity with a wide array of delicacies and sweets. Nature softened and dressed in gold, offers us the deserved reward for our hard work. It is an occasion of plenitude and satisfaction, when family and friends gather around the table to delight grandmother’s recipes that have been tested by the most demanding diner.

For those of us who live in South Florida, the festivities begin with Halloween followed quickly by All Souls Day, then Thanksgiving, culminating in Christmas, New Years and ending with the Three Wise Men. They follow each other so quickly that it seems that when distributing the sweets to the children in costumes, the year is over. It is a dizzying chain of culinary festivals wrapped in a warm reunion with loved ones. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful season.

It is also undoubtedly the time of more elaborate and complicated recipes; main dishes with strong sauces, cold meats, desserts with nuts, fish, shellfish, wines and champagne. In short, a whole gastronomic explosion. It should be remembered, without detracting from the festivities, and for obvious reasons, that the majority of allergic food reactions occur during this season. The incidence of allergic reactions in adults is estimated at around 1% of the population and in children, somewhat higher, ranging up to 6 to 8% in children under 3 years of age. For reasons still unknown, the incidence of allergic food reactions is increasing. For example, allergy to peanuts or peanuts has increased in some countries like the United States. Any food is capable of triggering an allergic reaction, but the foods commonly implicated in the vast majority of allergic reactions are cow’s milk, egg white, peanuts, nuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish.

The allergic reaction itself is an immunological reaction to the protein in the food that almost always occurs suddenly after ingestion of the food and is accompanied by hives or hives on the skin, edema or swelling, respiratory distress, and even a drop in blood pressure with loss of blood pressure. of knowledge. This reaction can be very dangerous and even fatal. The person thus affected should go to an allergy specialist to confirm the allergy through a blood test or skin test, should also avoid eating the food in question and carry auto-injectable adrenaline to use in case of allergic reaction caused by the accidental ingestion of food.

There are other types of immunological allergic reactions, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis, a dermatological condition that is especially frequent in children that manifests with itching and recurrent skin eruptions. Atopic dermatitis is sometimes related to the intake of certain foods. Allergic reactions must be differentiated from other reactions related to food intake such as food intolerance, toxic and infectious reactions, and indigestion. For example, intolerance to lactose, a carbohydrate in milk, is a very common condition manifesting with abdominal pain, flatulence, and diarrhea after ingesting milk.

Toxic reactions such as ciguatera, which is caused by eating fish contaminated by the toxin, or scobriosis, which is caused by eating decomposed fish, can be confused at first sight with allergic reactions. Fortunately, indigestions, which are the most frequent afflictions in general and in this festive season in particular, are mostly unimportant. So enjoy the festivities in moderation and be careful with the allergic guest, especially if it is a child. Enjoy!