In complicated relationships, sometimes the best choice is to get an outside mediator to help resolve any issues. For me, that was my only choice. I am in love with the one thing that holds the strongest potential to kill me: food.
Having food allergies is no joke, but after speaking to Dr. Anthony Nguyen, DO, from the Allergy and Asthma Center in Towson, I learned that food allergies are just a flaw that needs to be accepted, although not overlooked, for a healthy relationship.
“Make sure to be well informed about food allergies and well prepared in case anything is to happen,” Nguyen said. “Otherwise, don’t let what you can and cannot eat limit you.”
Nguyen is a food lover himself and holds strong interests in how food relates to sensitive human digestive systems. He welcomed me into his office on a rainy afternoon, although the weather did not put a damper on our friendly chat. As he explained the specifics of food allergies, his face lit up with a mixture of excitement and passion, showcasing his deep concern for the issue.
“Food allergies are a very broad category,” Nguyen said. “The most concerning is the allergy that can lead to death – IgE mediated reactions. These type of reactions typically occur within hours after eating the food. Non-IgE mediated reactions can take longer to occur, and are often considered more of an intolerance or sensitivity. IgE reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock and potentially, death.”
Nguyen went on to provide more detailed information about food allergies and their severity. Here are some of the most important points you should know:
- There is no such thing as a food that is impossible to be allergic to.
- The most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
- There’s currently no “cure” for food allergies; one can expose themselves to decrease their sensitivity, but there’s no proven way of completely getting rid of them.
- The only definitive test for food allergies is actually eating the food. Blood and skin tests results that come back negative (meaning you are not allergic) are said to be 95% accurate; results that come back positive (meaning you are allergic) are said to only by 40% accurate.
Nguyen stresses that keeping an epi-pen (the portable injector of epinephrine, the medicine that can save a life) on hand is essential, along with anti-histamines in the case of hives and swelling. He also recommends checking out FARE and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology as resources for further information.
As for my own relationship with food – Dr. Nguyen gave me his blessing.
“It doesn’t hurt to blog about one’s experiences, even with allergies,” Nguyen said. “I don’t see a reason to avoid it.”
And so although my food-ship may be a little nutty (pun fully intended), the future for it sure looks promising.