Mar 312011
 

It is a myth that certain foods cause itching and the belief is due to misinformation. Some foods do cause an allergic reaction in some people and any itching experienced is caused by the allergy. There can be other symptoms that show up and they range from mild irritation to serious respiratory problems. So you must be on your guard if some foods do not suit you.

Reactions can be of three types- namely those caused by touching some food item, reaction around the mouth, and the most severe is when there is swelling and the whole body is affected.

1. Allergic contact dermatitis: Causes itchiness and inflammation at the place where the food has touched you and there may be a rash also. Peanut butter, citrus fruits and certain vegetables can cause such a reaction.

Avoiding direct contact of skin from the suspect food items is necessary. If contact does occur wash the area with soap and water and apply hydrocortisone cream to contain the allergic reaction.

2. Oral allergy: The main reaction is around the mouth and does not go beyond the face. Swelling and itching occurs around the lips and can travel to the throat and face. This is a type of pollen allergy. In some people the immune system mistakes certain proteins found in food for pollen.

If these foods are cooked the protein is masked and does not cause an adverse reaction. The foods include fruits such as apples, cherries and almonds and vegetables like celery. Once symptoms occur they have to be treated with oral antihistamines.

3. General food allergy: Causes itching of the skin on ingestion of food you are allergic to. It may progress to irritation of the skin, or skin problems like eczema and hives. This becomes dangerous as it means that a severe reaction has set in. It may be accompanied by nausea and diarrhoea. There will be swelling on the face too. You may suffer from respiratory disorders such as wheezing and shortness of breath. This happens when the swelling reaches the respiratory tract. In such a case immediately rush to a doctor

Identify the foods that cause this reaction. They could be egg, peanuts, wheat and fish. Do not partake of any product that contains the items that cause allergy, in any form. Look for alternatives like using maize instead of wheat, if gluten is what you are allergic to.

Use a soft cloth to relieve the itching. If you scratch hard and the skin breaks, you may get a skin infection and that will complicate the problem further.