Food Allergies

Food allergy refers to the abnormal immune reaction by the body to foods that are usually harmless. The immune system of food-allergic individuals incorrectly identifies food proteins as harmful and launches an immune response to attack them. The severity of the reaction may range from mild itchiness of the mouth to severe and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Because of the risk with food allergies, those who have them should wear an allergy bracelet to help first responders and medical staff give the right treatment. These bracelets or necklaces, often referred to as medical alert bracelets or medical ID bracelets, can help save the lives of those with food allergies in an emergency.

What Are the Symptoms of a Food Allergy?

The symptoms of an allergic reaction may vary from one person to the next. However, they may involve the respiratory tract, cardiovascular system, or even the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms usually manifest in one or more of the following ways [1]:

- Wheezing

- Hives

- Stomach Cramps and/or Vomiting

- Weak Pulse

- Trouble Swallowing

- Tight, Hoarse Throat

- Repetitive Cough

- Shock or Circulatory Collapse

- Pale or Blue Coloring of the Skin

- Swelling of the Tongue, Affecting the Ability to Breathe or Talk

- Feeling Faint/Dizziness

- Anaphylaxis (A potentially life-threatening reaction that may impair breathing and send the entire body into shock.)

Why Are Food Allergies a Serious Issue?

Food allergy symptoms are most prevalent in infants and young children, but they can appear at any age. It is actually possible to develop an allergy to foods you have eaten for many years without any problems.

The FDA [2] reports that about 2 percent of adults and about 5 percent of infants and young children in the USA suffer from food allergies while about 30,000 people require emergency room treatment and about 150 of them lose their lives due to allergic reactions to food. The risk from food allergies is real and should not be taken lightly. This is why wearing an allergy bracelet is critical to receive proper care.

Common Types of Food Allergies

People can be allergic to just about any type of food, but according to the FDA [3], these are some of the most common food allergies:

Tree Nut / Peanut Allergies

Nuts are another very common food allergy.  People with a tree nut allergy, may react to cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios.  

Tree nut allergies are separate from a peanut allergy, which causes reactions to peanuts, peanut butter, and all products containing peanut ingredients.

Nuts can cause severe allergic reactions even from very minimal contact with the allergen. People with an allergy to a certain nut may be able to tolerate other nuts, but it is generally advisable for such people to avoid all nuts. Nuts are often used as an ice cream topping or as garnishes in salads. They can also be found in desserts, sauces, and baking goods.

Labeling laws are incredibly strict when it comes to nuts and you will often come across labels that say ‘may contain traces of nuts’ even when nuts are not one of the listed ingredients.

Shellfish

Shellfish refers to aquatic shelled animals, particularly the edible ones such as squid, octopus, cockles, abalone, and oysters as well as crustaceans such as shrimp, prawns, crayfish, crab, and lobster. Shellfish are common ingredients in Asian soups, stocks, sauces, and flavorings.

Shellfish allergies are some of the most common food allergies [6]. It is important to note that a shellfish allergy is not the same as an allergy to fish. People allergic to shellfish are not necessarily allergic to fish and vice versa.

Shellfish allergies may affect the respiratory tract, cardiovascular system, or even the gastrointestinal tract. While these allergies are often not seen until adulthood, they can appear at virtually any age.

People that handle food should be particularly careful to avoid cross-contamination when it comes to shellfish. Even a tiny amount is usually more than enough to trigger a severe reaction.

Dairy Allergies

One of the most frequently reported allergies in the world is the allergy to dairy products and is reportedly the leading cause of food allergy in infants. An allergy to dairy products should not be confused with being lactose intolerant.

An allergy to dairy products is caused by an immune system reaction to the proteins in dairy products while lactose intolerance results from the lack of the digestive enzyme lactase in the body. People allergic to cow’s milk may also be allergic to other kinds of animal milk such as goat’s milk.

People allergic to dairy products may be able to use a milk substitute such as soy or even almond milk. It can be relatively difficult to avoid dairy products completely since they are a very common, and sometimes unexpected, ingredient in many products.

People that handle food for at-risk loved ones, should be very attentive to food labels and should exercise caution when preparing food to avoid cross-contamination during food handling.

Egg Allergies

Eggs are a common allergy-triggering food, especially in young children [7]. Both the yolk and egg white can trigger an allergic reaction, which is why those that handle food should not serve food which contains either one if a person states that he/she has an egg allergy.

Eggs are used in a wide variety of recipes and products including baked goods, custards, and other kinds of desserts, meringues, pasta, dressings, as well as in processed foods such as hot dogs, pre-made burgers, and luncheon meat.

Gluten/Celiac Allergies

People often confuse wheat allergy for celiac disease and vice versa, but they are two separate conditions. A wheat allergy occurs when a person’s immune system reacts abnormally to wheat protein. A wheat allergy usually has mild symptoms, but in some instances, it can be severe or even life-threatening.

People with Celiac disease often have an immune response in the small intestine after eating gluten, which is a type of protein found in grains such as rye, wheat, or barley. It causes uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and may even damage the lining of the small intestine over time.

Celiac disease is a serious condition. Due to the damage it causes to the lining of the small intestine, people with Celiac disease may develop other conditions such as mouth ulcers, itchy or blistering skin, anemia, reduced spleen function, or even joint pain.

If you have an allergy of any type, even one not included here, your medical professional will likely recommend wearing a Medical ID bracelet.

What is an Allergy Bracelet?

An allergy bracelet, commonly referred to as a medical ID bracelet or a medical alert bracelet, is an identification to let others know you have a medical condition such as an allergy. The bracelet allows health personnel along with other people to know the name and condition of the wearer.

Who Should Get a Medical ID Bracelet?

Anybody with a chronic or severe condition, such as a food allergy, should wear a medical ID bracelet. They can be worn by anybody with a condition that inhibits him/her from expressing that he/she has an illness or disablement. Medical Alert Bracelets are often worn by people with food allergies, but also those with autism, dementia, asthma, lung conditions, heart conditions, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, as well as those with pacemakers.

Why Should I Wear a Medical Allergy Bracelet?

Medical ID bracelets are designed to communicate your condition if or when you are unable to. Ensuring that you communicate any confirmed allergies and the risks they pose to your health on the Medical ID bracelet can help first responders understand whether your allergy caused the medical emergency or other causes should be investigated.

If you are allergic to certain foods, you are probably undoubtedly used to reading food labels and talking with restaurant staff about ingredients. Still, cross-contamination is a real possibility. It isn’t always possible to know that someone has touched a doorknob after eating a peanut butter sandwich if you have a nut allergy.

You might do everything right when it comes to managing your food allergy; still, wearing an allergy bracelet helps the general public like teachers, restaurant staff, employers, and of course first responders to be aware of your condition and make sure you receive the correct care, even if you forget.

What Information Should Be Provided on a Medical Alert Bracelet?

You should include the following on food allergy bracelets:

- Name of the person wearing it

- The list of allergens

- What should be done in case of a reaction

- Contact information

Where Can I Buy Food Allergy Bracelets?

You can easily order a custom Medical ID/Allergy Bracelet by visiting our store. We custom engrave all our medical ID jewelry, which means that the allergy alert you might wear for your nut allergy may be the same one a different person wears for his gluten allergy. We offer a variety of styles including stainless steel, braided, rubber and leather bracelets.

Here is how to place your order for food allergy alert bracelets:

- Select the Medical ID Bracelet that you like based on type and color

- Measure your wrist and select appropriate size

- Provide the engraving information

- Check out, and go!

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