Saturday, February 21, 2009

Health Tips for February 21

Health Tip: If You Have a Food Allergy

A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

Once the immune system decides to treat a particular food this way, eating that food can prompt the massive release of chemicals known as histamines. These chemicals, in turn, trigger allergic reactions that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and cardiovascular system.

Avoiding these foods altogether is the only sure way to prevent a reaction.

Although someone can be allergic to just about any food, the following edibles account for 90 percent of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (including walnuts and cashews), fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

Health Tip: Living With Latex Allergy

Latex is found in a number of common objects -- ranging from dishwashing gloves to rubber toys. The sanitary gloves that doctors and nurses use also are frequently made of latex.

If you've got a latex allergy, the American Academy of Family Physicians offers these suggestions to prevent a reaction:

  • Figure out which items at home and work are made from latex, and find non-latex items as replacements.
  • Be careful around powdered latex gloves and similar products. Even breathing in the powder can be harmful.
  • In a medical situation -- whether you're a worker or patient -- make sure that you or others than you come in contact with wear non-latex gloves.
  • Carry a medical alert bracelet, necklace, or key chain that notes your allergy.
  • Ask your doctor if you should carry an emergency epinephrine injection with you.

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