Food allergy in Singapore - What you need to know to keep safe
Find out more about food allergy in Singapore including signs and symptoms and how to treat it and keep yourself and your family safe
A food allergy is an adverse immune response to a food protein. It is different to other negative reactions to food such as food intolerances, pharmacological reactions, and toxin-mediated reactions.
According to Dr Melissa Conrad Stoppler on medicinenet.com, the protein in the food is the most common allergic component. These kinds of allergies occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. Allergic reactions to food can range from mild to severe – in extreme cases, death can occur if immediate medical attention is not received. There is no cure for food allergies.
The signs and symptoms of a food allergy
According to www.foodallergy.org, a food allergy can affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, and, in the most serious cases, the cardiovascular system. A severe reaction can include the potentially life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms usually occur within minutes to several hours after eating the food to which you are allergic.
- Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)
- Eczema (a persistent dry, itchy rash)
- Redness of the skin or around the eyes
- Itchy mouth or ear canal
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Nasal congestion or a runny nose
- Slight, dry cough
- Odd taste in mouth
- Uterine contractions
Severe symptoms :
- Obstructive swelling of the lips, tongue, and/or throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Turning blue
- Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out)
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
- A weak or “thread” pulse
- Sense of “impending doom”
A child may describe the sensations of a food allergy in a different way to an adult. Precious time is lost when adults do not immediately recognize that a reaction is occurring or don’t understand what a child is telling them. Some children, especially very young ones, put their hands in their mouths or pull or scratch at their tongues in response to a reaction. Also, children’s voices may change (e.g., become hoarse or squeaky), and they may slur their words.
If you suspect your child is having an allergic reaction to food, seek medical attention immediately.
Common food allergens
- Tree nuts (e.g. walnuts, cashews)
If you know you or your child are allergic to certain foods, always be prepared with an effective food allergy treatment plan wherever you are, including when you are in another country. This could include:
- Strict avoidance of problem foods;
- Working with your doctor to develop a food allergy and anaphylaxis emergency care plan;
- Wearing emergency medical identification (e.g., bracelet, other jewelry) at all times;
- Carrying your medication wherever you go;
- Taking your medication at the first sign of a reaction;
- Getting to an emergency room for follow-up treatment if you or your child has a severe reaction.
Food allergy management in Singapore
In case of any food allergy with anaphylactic reactions, you must head to the Accident and Emergency Department of the nearest hospital.
Allergy hotline: 6738 8062
If you have any other useful information about food allergies, do share your knowledge with us by leaving a comment.