Allergic reactions may occur within a few minutes of the patient coming in contact with the allergen, or they may be delayed for several hours or even several days. Almost any part of the body can be affected by allergies. The portion of the body which is affected is called a shock organ. Common sites are the nose and eyes, the skin, chest, intestines and ears.
Allergic reactions are caused by a wide range of substances and conditions. These include pollen, dust, cosmetics and animal hair; poisonous plants, serums, vaccines and drugs; physical agents such as heat, cold and sunlight; as well as a variety of foods. Among the numerous allergens in the food department, the more common ones are oranges, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, chocolates, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries.
The symptoms of allergy are as varied as the substances causing the reaction. These include recurring headache, migraine, dizziness, irritability, nervousness, depression, neuralgia, sneezing, conjunctivitis, diabetes, eczema, heart-burn, hay fever, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, gastric ulcer, asthma, overweight, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart attacks, a stuffy or runny nose, shortness of breath, swelling of the face and eyes, etc. The same food can cause different symptoms in different people. Many allergies are multiple and may be caused by multiple allergens.
Allergy is an indication of lowered resistance and internal disharmony caused by dietetic errors and faulty style of living. It is believed that the major cause of allergy is feeding babies such foods as cereals, meat, corns, whole milk, etc. before they reach the age of 10 to 12 months.
These foods cause allergic reactions as babies lack the proper enzymes needed for their digestion before that age. Babies should be breast-fed for at least eight months as this is nature’s way of providing all the required nutrients during this period.
Another important cause of allergy is today’s processed foods loaded with numerous chemical additives, many of which cause powerful reactions. An allergic condition can result from diet imbalances. There can be a breakdown in the body’s ability to handle sugar due to excessive intake of refined sugar and consequent blood sugar irregularities, or mineral and vitamin imbalances due to defective dietary patterns.