Food Allergies

What are Food Allergies?


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.

SYMPTOMS

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

TREATMENTS

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.

The  standard treatment for food allergies  right now is avoidance of the allergen and having epinephrine available for emergencies. Families with food allergies must follow strict avoidance with constant observation and preparation for any accidental reaction.

Talk to your allergist about available emergency medications:

Injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen, Auvi-Q, Adrenaclick)

Antihistamines

In some cases, steroids (oral, intramuscular or IV)

ORAL IMMUNOTHERAPY 

We are proud to now offer peanut allergy treatment to both children and adults. Peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT), or oral desensitization, is a safe and effective treatment that retrains the immune system to tolerate peanut. Treatment involves eating small, gradually increasing doses of peanuts each day under the careful and strict supervision of our board certified allergist/ immunologist, Dr. Carolyn Comer. The goal of treatment is to improve our patients’ overall quality of life and help them obtain a lifetime of freedom from peanut allergy fear and stress. As the leading caregiver in the state for allergies and asthma, Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center is committed to patient safety and offering innovative quality care to all of our patients. Oral peanut desensitization has been extensively researched in an academic setting for over a decade with proven success.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Comer for peanut allergy treatment, call our Program Director, Anthony Pallotta, directly at 205-777-7183.