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Be Alert for Christmas Allergies

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Christmas in Spain is a time of joy, happiness and family meals, where friends and loved ones often over indulge, but are also frequently oblivious to hidden dangers caused by allergies to food.

Although they are usually mild, allergic reactions to food reach 50% of those treated in the emergency room, says the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC). In the Christmas season, its prevalence does not increase, but undiagnosed cases does. “At this time, you should not lower your guard,” warns Carolina Pérez Iglesias, nutrition specialist at Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja, who points out that cases of allergic reactions usually increase during Christmas.

“At this time, you should not lower your guard,” warns Carolina Pérez Iglesias, nutrition specialist at Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja, who points out that cases of allergic reactions usually increase during Christmas due to the introduction of typical highly allergenic products in our diet. of this time, and because the consumption of these foods begins in children.

In addition, family meals and business dinners are very frequent, and seven out of every ten serious allergic reactions occur when eating out, according to the SEAIC. The Chirónsalud specialist recalls that in the vast majority of patients the effects occur within 30 minutes after food intake, and the symptoms vary between oral pruritus and anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if not reversed.

The severity varies depending on the amount of the allergen ingested, the sensitivity of the person, and external factors such as asthma, physical exercise or consumption of painkillers or alcohol. “The only proven treatment is the elimination in the diet of the food that produces the condition,” adds Iglesias. In case of severe reactions, it is recommended that auto-injectable adrenaline is on hand, as well as oral corticosteroids and an oral antihistamine.

Dr. Sergio Negre, specialist in pediatric gastroenterology at Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia, points out that at Christmas the foods that tend to cause the most allergic reactions are nuts, fruits less common at other times of the year, crustaceans and shellfish in general.

“In children, the prevalence in order of frequency includes cow’s milk, egg, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts, especially beware of typical Christmas sweets, such as nougat or marzipan, since they have hidden ingredients among its components, “he warns.

As a rule, meat does not usually cause allergic reactions; However, special care must be taken with fish and, above all, seafood, more specifically, Norway lobster and shrimp. Nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, pips and hazelnuts, also produce allergies, although in a lesser proportion. In the case of having a food allergic at home, we must be careful when making the purchase and carefully read the labels.

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