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Why am I allergic to some food items?

Q: I am a 40 years old woman allergic to certain herbs and food items. After consuming such food items I feel itching on my head and develop rashes around the neck and sometimes all over the body. This is happening for the last 6-7 years. I have been admitted to the hospital 2-3 times. Immediately, I had to take an injection of Avil and Deccadron. I have got an allergy test done but still I get allergy at times. My blood pressure also goes down at the time of allergy. Please advise.

A:If these food-related reactions are occurring within an hour or so of eating, and are confirmed as being due to certain specific foods, you need to avoid the food concerned as carefully as possible. Itching and rashes usually respond to antihistamines, so you should keep some available for early self-treatment. A drop in blood pressure is a feature of a more severe reaction, and if you feel faint you should lie down flat, preferably with your feet a little raised, to avoid losing consciousness. Once you are feeling better, sit up on the floor for a few moments before standing up, to make sure the blood pressure is back to normal. Some patients are given adrenaline for self-injection, eg an EpiPen, to deal with more severe reactions, and if you have one, make sure you, (and your family), are shown how to use it. This kind of allergy reaction is most worrying in patients who also have asthma, but I gather this is not a problem in your case.

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