A food allergy is a dangerous immune response triggered by foods that cause an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. Very few people have a real food allergy, most have a food intolerance. Common food allergies include peanuts, milk, eggs, tree nuts, fish, shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), wheat and soy.
For more information on the treating food allergies or to schedule an appointment with an immunologist, call Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center at 205-871-9661.
Food allergy reactions range in severity from mild symptoms to a severe, life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Symptoms may include:
Itching, hives, eczema flare
Swelling of the face, lips, throat, tongue or other parts of the body
Breathing problems such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath
Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain/cramping
Light headedness, fainting, drop in blood pressure
Feeling that something bad is about to happen
The first step in managing food allergy is to correctly identify food allergens. Ask your allergist about food allergy testing. There are several types of food allergy tests including skin tests, blood tests (also known as RAST) and patch tests. Your doctor will help to decide which test will be most appropriate for you.
Currently, there is no cure for food allergies, although researchers are studying new ways to treat food allergy. At present, our best strategies are avoidance and prompt treatment of any accidental exposures.
Talk to your allergist about available emergency medications:
Injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen, Auvi-Q, Adrenaclick)
In some cases, steroids (oral, intramuscular or IV)