Food allergies are estimated to affect 4% of adults and 4%-6% of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Associates we have managed thousands of patients with food allergies. With over a decade of experience, we continue to set health industry standards when it comes to successfully diagnosing and managing both pediatric and adult food allergies.
What Is A Food Allergy?
A food allergy is the result of the body’s exaggerated immune response to a food or a substance in a food. While several studies have soon a genetic link to food allergies, proving it to be inheritable, it is impossible to accurately predict whether a child will inherit a parent’s food allergy or whether siblings will have similar conditions. The severity of food allergies can vary from mild to severe and may even lead to anaphylaxis is some cases. While any food may cause an adverse reaction, eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and/or shellfish cause approximately 90% of all reactions.
What is Oral Food Allergy Syndrome?
Patients who have an allergy to pollen, specifically to trees and weeds, may experience mouth and throat itching when consuming certain fruits and/or vegetables. This is due to cross reactivity between certain trees/weeds and fruits/vegetables. A person who experiences oral food allergy syndrome be believe they have a food allergy when in fact they are experiencing an allergy to pollen.
Food Allergy Symptoms
Food allergies can involve the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and the respiratory tract. Some common symptoms are:
- Stomach Cramps
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Swelling of the Tongue
- Pale or Blue Skin Discoloration
Most food allergy symptoms develop within 2 hours of ingestion; often symptoms start within minutes. In some cases the reaction may be delayed and symptoms may not present until 6 hours or more after ingestion.
Food Allergy Testing
At Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Associates we are equipped to diagnose both pediatric and adult food allergies in-house. After carefully reviewing your medical history and discussing any individual concerns, our highly trained staff will perform skin prick testing to assess for the presence and severity of food allergies. In some cases, patients may also receive blood tests (such as ImmunoCap) to further assess for food allergies by measuring the amount of IgE antibody to the specific food(s) being tested.
Food Allergy Treatments
The management of food allergies centers on avoiding consumption of foods that are known to cause reactions. While allergies to egg, milk, wheat and soy may disappear over time, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish tend to be lifelong. Once a patient has been diagnosed with a food allergy, we prescribe them an EpiPen and strongly encourage that they always keep the EpiPen close at hand.
The Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) mandates that manufactures of packaged foods being produced in the United States identify, in a simple to understand, clear language, the presence of any of the eight most common food allergens (egg, milk, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish). We strongly encourage patients who have known food allergies to be familiarized with these labels and routinely check them prior to consuming foods.