Food allergies and respiratory symptoms.

Food Allergies and Respiratory Symptoms

I was at a weekend work event that was filled with a day chock full of meetings, strategic planning and professional development that began with a 7:00am flight and having to leave for the airport 5:15am. I was feeling a bit sleepy by lunch. I had already consumed my snacks and I was super excited for the delicious boxed lunches that had just been brought by caterer. Yum!  A twinge of concern came across me. Did I confirm that I have special dietary needs and that I needed something that did not have dairy in it.  Hmmm… I would have to see what the options were, hopefully there would at least be something that I could at least eat around.
 
Finally, it was lunch time and I made my way over to pick up the boxed lunches. There was only one special diet lunch, it was “lactose free”, it was a close second but not quite what I was hoping for also, I learned that it wasn’t mine. My heart sank, I had to go for a regular lunch. it had large chunks of cheese that I managed to extract without hopefully contaminating anything but then I learned that there was another layer of cheese toward the bottom of my salad. Ugh, this was not going well, I was still so hungry, tummy gurgles and all. It looked like I was going to have to abandon the boxed lunch and stick with the fruit bowl and other associated snacks. I had a particularly scary situation early in the year when I unknowingly consumed dairy in an item and I had a significant reaction. I am trying to be more proactive when I am in this particular situation.

Food Allergies and Asthma

I have a dairy allergy which results in me having respiratory symptoms, in my case, primarily wheezing and bronchi contraction. You may be aware that allergy and asthma are very closely related. That being said, not everyone with asthma has allergies and, not everyone that has allergies has asthma. A person with food allergies, there are similar cellular processes involved in both 1. Our immune systems overreact and release histamines.2 It is the histamines that cause the allergic reaction. Common food allergy symptoms may include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose, sneezing, a scratchy or sore throat and itchy skin. In the case where respiratory symptoms (wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing) are present, it may be difficult to differentiate between an allergic reaction to a food and an asthma attack.2

Lessons to Learn

The learning lessons from this experience is to ensure that if you can order a special meal, that you do.  Have a backup plan for meals that you have away from your home or that you have prepared yourself.  Although, I try to poke around my food, it is best and safest not to eat anything that may have come in to contact with any know allergens.  Ensure that someone is aware of your allergen in case of a reaction and speak with your doctor about preventative steps or the use of an epic pen if that is appropriate treatment.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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