Can Allergies Make You Feel Nauseous
Can Allergies Make You Feel Nauseous? The first time I had an allergic reaction was during my freshman year of college. I had just eaten one of those tiny little peanut butter cups that they put out at football games (I know-don’t judge me) and within five minutes I felt like I’d been hit with a train. My eyes were itching, I could barely breathe through my nose, and my throat started tightening up. Within 20 minutes I was having trouble walking back to my dorm room because I couldn’t see well enough to find my way.
Needless to say, I didn’t go near peanuts for about four years after that day. But not all food allergies make you feel so bad. In fact, some people who have severe allergies actually don’t even experience any symptoms at all. So what makes some people break down into tears while others walk around feeling fine? The answer is complicated, but there are two main factors involved: how sensitive you are to certain foods and whether you’re eating something that’s likely to trigger a serious allergic reaction in your body.
First things first: Not every allergy will make you feel sick. It depends on which type of allergy you have and which allergens affect you specifically. If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, pollen allergies or dust mite allergies, then yes, these can make you feel nauseated. These types of allergies cause inflammation in our nasal passages, which leads to stuffy noses, runny noses and sneezing. When we sneeze, mucus is released from inside our bodies to help clear away irritants in our airways. Unfortunately, this also means that the nasty particles we’ve been trying to get rid of suddenly end up going right into our lungs where they can wreak havoc. This causes us to cough and wheeze more often, which can lead to further irritation and inflammation in our breathing passages.
Other allergens, however, such as shellfish, milk and soy, do not typically cause us to feel ill. Some people may suffer from seafood allergies, for example, but won’t notice any adverse effects until they eat another type of fish. Shellfish allergies usually show themselves later in life, but if you did have a childhood shellfish allergy, you probably remember experiencing the horrible symptoms of hives, shortness of breath and other uncomfortable reactions. Milk allergies, though rare, can be especially dangerous and should be taken seriously. Soy allergies are becoming increasingly common among children, particularly girls under 2 years old. Soy allergies are very difficult to treat; sufferers need to avoid all forms of soy altogether and may require the use of antihistamines and steroids to control their symptoms.
So now that we understand why some allergies can make you feel awful, let’s talk about how some foods cause different reactions than others. Food allergies fall into two categories: immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated and non-immunoglobulin E (non-IgE)-medicated. IgE-related allergies are much more common than non-IgE mediated ones, but everyone reacts differently to various foods. For instance, cow’s milk can cause lactose intolerance, but it doesn’t mean someone else can’t tolerate it just fine. Cow’s milk allergy is an IgE-related condition, meaning that it’s caused by antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Someone with a cow’s milk allergy has high levels of IgE attached to mast cells located throughout the body. Mast cells contain histamine, a compound associated with allergies.
When we come across an allergen, our mast cells release large amounts of histamine. Histamine triggers the smooth muscles surrounding the blood vessels to constrict, creating swelling and causing inflammation. We know that food allergies are linked to an increased risk of asthma, eczema, rhinitis and hay fever, but does that mean that anyone who eats a certain food will develop similar conditions? No, that isn’t necessarily true. Some people might carry genes that predispose them to allergies, but that’s not always the case. Those with non-IgE-mediated allergies tend to react less severely to allergens. Non-IgE-mediated allergies are thought to occur due to changes in the immune system rather than the production of specific antibodies.
There are many ways to treat allergies, but nothing works better than avoiding the trigger altogether. If you think you have an allergy, consult your doctor right away. He or she can recommend treatments tailored to your particular situation.
Foods That Can Cause Nausea and Vomiting
It’s important to note that while most allergies don’t make us feel too great, there are a few culprits that commonly elicit feelings of queasiness. Here are some of the worst offenders:
Peanuts – Peanut allergies are extremely common. They’re estimated to affect between 6 and 8 percent of Americans. While peanut allergies aren’t known to cause any kind of illness, they can certainly result in a runny nose, watery eyes and general discomfort. Eating peanut products can trigger stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches.
Sesame seeds – Sesame seeds are used in numerous ethnic dishes all over the world, including Chinese stir-fries, Middle Eastern hummus and Indian curry. However, sesame seed allergies are growing increasingly prevalent in American kids, affecting 1 to 3 percent of school-age children. Like peanut allergies, sesame seed allergies rarely cause any physical problems, but they can definitely make your stomach churn.
Fish – Fish allergies are relatively uncommon, occurring in only 0.5 to 4 percent of young children. Nevertheless, they can make you feel really gross. People with fish allergies tend to have difficulty swallowing and digesting the protein found in fish, which results in bloating, heartburn, rashes and stomachaches.
Shellfish – There are many species of shellfish, including oysters, clams, mussels, scallops and shrimp. Unlike fish allergies, shellfish allergies are fairly common, making up 10 to 15 percent of adults in America. Shellfish allergies tend to be worse in older children and teens. The proteins contained in shellfish cause digestive issues and intestinal distress.
While the list above contains some of the top allergens that can make us feel queasy, we should point out that food allergies are on the rise worldwide. According to the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), allergies have doubled since 1980 — and the UICC attributes this increase to environmental factors rather than genetics.
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