Allergy awareness week is from 28th April – 4th May 2014.

Coping with what you’ve got on your plate: food allergies and intolerances

“I’m sorry, I can’t eat…..”. If you’re running a restaurant, planning a dinner party or trying to make lunch for someone, people with food allergies and intolerances can be a bit inconvenient. For the millions who suffer from these conditions, though, they can cause all kinds of misery and pain.

Food allergies occur when the body mistakenly makes an antibody to try and counter a specific food, often eggs, milk, shellfish, wheat, shellfish, and nuts, resulting in the immune system releasing histamine and other chemicals which in turn cause various symptoms. Common symptoms are abdominal pain, rashes, diarrhoea and vomiting, itching and sneezing, and a very few people have such severe reactions it can even be life threatening.

Food allergies are fortunately not all that common, affecting around 2% of UK adults and 8% of children. Food intolerances, though, are far more widespread and can produce similar symptoms. They’re also very difficult to diagnose, as no antibodies are produced.

If you suspect you have a food allergy or intolerance, it could be making your life really miserable. Here’s what you need to do.

First of all, head to your GP. He’ll encourage you to keep a diary to identify your ‘trigger’ food, and possibly test you for food allergies. Depending on the test results, you’ll probably be given an ‘exclusion diet’ to follow, which involves gradually excluding food groups until you find the food or food groups that are causing the problem.

Secondly, tell everyone! April 24th to May 4th isAllergy Awareness Week, an event run by national charity AllergyUK to help highlight the plight of allergy sufferers all over the country. You’ll soon get the hang of what you can and can’t eat, but don’t be afraid to tell friends, families and colleagues – the more people who know, the safer you’ll be.

Finally, look after yourself. If you’re excluding a particular food group such as milk products, make sure you compensate by eating plenty of calcium-rich food such as oily fish and enriched soya drinks. A great way to help keep your immune system in tip top condition is a course of colonic hydrotherapy. These safe, non-chemical treatments will help manage toxins in the colon, restoring a natural balance and helping you feel energised and more able to cope with whatever life throws at you. I’m a fully trained and insured colonic hydrotherapist, so it’s a great investment in your health that won’t damage your bottom line!

To connect with other people in the same boat, or for lots of advice, tips and general health-related chat, why not follow me on Twitter @CHClinicUK

I’m here to help.

Helen x