Wheat Allergy is considered to be one of the commonest food allergies in young kids. It is, however, different from the celiac disease which requires the affected person to consume gluten free food products.
The primary reason for allergy to wheat is quite similar to that of other allergies. The immune system of the body identifies a wheat protein as detrimental to the body and develops a specific anti body to fight it. This causes a number of adverse bodily reactions which may be described as mild to severe depending on the intensity of the symptoms and their effect on the normal bodily functions.
Wheat contains four different types of proteins namely albumin, gliadin, globulin and gluten all of them capable of triggering off the allergy. A specific type wheat allergy is the Baker’s asthma which results in respiratory problems once the afflicted person gets to inhale the flour. Apart from the proteins present in the wheat it can also be set off by a fungus within the flour.
Celiac disease is the term given to gluten allergies which usually causes the inflammation of the small intestine.
Symptoms & Signs Of Wheat Allergy
The allergy is evident by the onset of symptoms which may appear immediately or take a few hours to manifest themselves. The commonest symptoms associated with the wheat allergy are:-
- Swelling, redness and an itchy skin with the formation of hives.
- Streaming eyes and a runny nose.
- Abdominal cramps with diarrhea.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- A clogged nose with difficulty in breathing in.
The more severe form of the allergy is known as Anaphylaxis which requires immediate medical intervention. The patient experiencing it may eventually lose consciousness with the skin turning blue due to lack of oxygen.
- Skin Test
- Food Challenge Test
- Blood Test
- Maintaining a Food diary with every detail of food consumed.
OTC drugs containing histamine or more specific ones prescribed by a doctor can be taken regularly to lessen the symptoms. Injection of adrenaline or epinephrine is the only way to control anaphylaxis and patients prone to such attacks are required to carry an auto injector at all times.
However, the best way to control the frequency of allergic reactions is to eliminate wheat and wheat based products which include bread and confectionary products from the diet once the diagnosis has established the reason conclusively.
- Family History: Any signs of wheat allergy or other food allergies present in parents may be responsible for the allergy in the offspring.
- Age: Children and infants are at a greater risk for developing the allergy.
Checking the food labels meticulously and keeping people informed about the condition is essential while dealing with wheat allergy.
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