‘An Allergy is a damaging immune response by the body to a substance to which it has become hypersensitive to’, thus defines the Dictionary.
I couldn’t have guessed I had a food allergy
Pizza is my first love and I can have it any time and many times a day. More than a decade ago, as I was biting into my hot, fresh and delicious slice of pizza I felt my ears burning. I didn’t give it much thought and attributed it to the generous serving of chilly flakes I like on mine.
As I finished relishing my slice of Pizza, I felt like my face was on fire and it felt ‘heavy’. Following which I had difficulty breathing. As I splashed cold water on my face, I looked up into the mirror to see that my face had swelled up and turned a deep shade of pink.
I was rushed to the hospital where I found that I had suffered an Allergy Attack. An anti-histamine injection brought immediate relief and I was sent home after a couple of hours of observation. It took 48 hours for me to recover completely though. However, the horror of the experience did not leave me.
The doctor attending me at the hospital was very sure that my reaction was to something I had eaten and advised getting a detailed Food Allergy Test conducted.
I did not touch Pizza for the next few years and with time I forgot all about the allergy attack I had had. Till I ordered my favorite Pizza again and suffered an attack more severe than the last one had been. It terrified me into immediately scheduling an appointment with an Allergy Clinic in Bangalore, where I then lived.
Testing for Food Allergy
Curious and a little scared, I wondered what would the procedure be. Would it be painful and what would they find? Would I be asked to stop eating foods I am found to be allergic to?
I walked in to my appointment into a clinic that was like any other doctor’s clinic. I was asked to fill a form with relevant details, my lifestyle and food habits. The skin on my forearms was cleaned and then lightly pricked in a row. A drop each of various food extracts, one for each food they thought I was most likely allergic to, was placed on the punctured skin.
I was relieved to find out that the procedure wasn’t painful at all!
I was asked to sit aside for 40 minutes and was told that some redness and bumps would show up on the place where I am allergic. Sure enough within 20 minutes I saw bumps and redness scattered down my forearms. After the required 40 minutes, questions were asked and notes were made and my forearms were wiped down.
The next day I got my reports and saw the doctor with them. To my relief I found out that I was not allergic to Pizza, as I feared I would be, but to the Red Food Color used to give Chicken/Paneer a good color. I would have never guessed it, till I had this allergy test.
After a detailed consultation with my doctor I learnt that I am allergic to certain Red Food Colors used, not all. However, I am still extremely careful to avoid anything to which Red Food Color has been added to, when I am eating out.
Allergies range from mild to severe and sometimes the symptoms are so subtle you would never guess you are allergic. An allergy attack can be debilitating though. So stay alert to any discomfort caused by foods and get yourself tested so that allergen avoidance is easier.
Know more about allergies and their management here.
The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi India. Sanofi India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.