In recent years there appears to have been a marked increase in the number of people suffering from food allergies and intolerances. Food labelling and ingredients lists have become clearer, and restaurants must now show if their foods contain the most common allergens. 
A true food allergy occurs when the bodies own defence system, known as the immune system, mistakes food proteins as a threat to the body. This causes the body to release a number of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. In severe cases, known as anaphylaxis, this reaction can be life-threatening. 
Symptoms of food allergies can include tingling in the mouth, hives, swelling of the face, mouth, throat or other areas of the body. The individual may experience difficulty swallowing and become short of breath. They may suffer with dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and hay-fever like symptoms. 
Anaphylactic reactions include the symptoms of allergic reactions shown above but are likely to be more sudden and worsen quickly. Anaphylaxis can also lead to a swollen tongue, tight chest, breathing difficulties, and collapse. If not dealt with quickly it can be fatal. Emergency services should always be called immediately and any prescribed auto-injector medication administered. 
Food intolerance is quite different, in that no allergic reaction actually takes place, and it is never life-threatening. It may involve symptoms such as bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea. It usually involves a larger amount of food needing to be consumed, and the symptoms do not usually show until several hours after consumption. 
It’s important to understand that any food can cause an allergic reaction, however, some foods are more commonly known to do so, such as; milk, eggs, peanuts, other tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and some fruits & vegetables. 
It is common for those that suffer from food allergies to also suffer from other allergy-related conditions, such as asthma, hay fever, or eczema. 
Here at The Essex Care Group, we take food allergies very seriously. All new service users are asked to provide us with details of any allergies, and staff training includes allergy awareness. 
We provide specific anaphylaxis training for staff that work with anyone who is known to suffer from anaphylaxis. This includes the use of a “practise” auto-injector, allowing staff to familiarise themselves with the process in a calm and controlled environment. So check out our services at 
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