Specialty Services
Allergic Rhinitis (Nasal/Sinus)
Allergy Testing
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots)
Sinus Infections
Asthma
Home Sleep Study
Food Allergies
Peanut Allergy Prevention
Skin Allergies
Bee Sting Allergies
Immune Deficiencies

Food Allergies

If you have a food allergy, your immune system overreacts to a particular protein found in that food. Symptoms most commonly occur after ingestion, even with just a tiny amount of the food. Many food allergies are first diagnosed in young children, though they may also appear in older children and adults.

Eight foods are responsible for the majority of allergic reactions:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat

Many people who think they are allergic to a food may actually be intolerant to it. Some of the symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy are similar, but the differences between the two are very important. If you are allergic to a food, this allergen triggers a response in the immune system. Food allergy reactions can be life-threatening, so people with this type of allergy must be very careful to avoid their food triggers. Food skin testing can help in differentiating a true allergy versus an intolerance.

Symptoms

Allergic reactions to food normally occur within minutes of eating the trigger food, though they can sometimes appear a few hours later. Symptoms of a food allergy include:

  • Hives or red, itchy skin
  • Stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing or itchy, teary eyes
  • Vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea
  • Angioedema or swelling

In some cases, food allergies can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Signs of this reaction include:

  • Hoarseness, throat tightness or a lump in the throat
  • Wheezing, chest tightness or trouble breathing
  • Tingling in the hands, feet, lips or scalp

Diagnosis

Proper diagnosis of food allergies is extremely important. Skin testing is most commonly used in diagnosing food allergies. A food challenge under the care of your allergist / immunologist may also be needed to confirm an allergy.