WHAT IS A FOOD ALLERGY?
A Food Allergy is an exaggerated immune response to a particular food or a specific substance in the food. Food Allergy symptoms may range from hardly noticeable to extreme distress and may change as you age. A Food Allergy you had as a child usually will not carry over to adulthood. However, a mild reaction at any age may progress to a more severe reaction over time. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 90% of food allergies are to the following food types: eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Most Food Allergy symptoms appear within 2 hours of eating, sometimes within minutes. Food Allergy symptoms may be recognized initially in the gastrointestinal tract as consumption of an allergen may cause tingling, burning or swelling in the mouth, a feeling of constriction in the throat or abdominal distress (vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea). Respiratory reactions may also occur and could include shortness of breath, wheezing or repetitive coughing. Cardiovascular responses may trigger shock or circulatory collapse, which could manifest as a dizzy or faint feeling, pale or blue-tinged skin or a weak pulse. The reaction could escalate quickly to Anaphylaxis, which is a serious life-threatening condition where the body undergoes a dramatic drop in blood pressure.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
You may recognize a pattern of reoccurring mild or moderate symptoms after eating certain foods. Your Esse Health Gateway Asthma & Allergy Relief doctor can help you determine if you are experiencing an allergic reaction, intolerance or if another condition may be the cause. You may need to participate in skin testing or have your blood tested for the presence of an allergic antibody (IgE).
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
If you are diagnosed with a food allergy, avoidance is the safest option. If your reaction is mild, your Esse Health Gateway Asthma & Allergy Relief doctor may recommend antihistamines. If your reaction is severe, you may require emergency assistance. Your doctor may require you to keep an auto-injector with epinephrine with you at all times.