Food allergies affect 4-6% of children and 4% of adults. Symptoms are typically more commonly present in babies and children, but can occur at any age. In fact, some people develop allergies to food they have safely enjoyed for many years! A food allergy occurs when your body recognizes a certain type of food as dangerous and issues a protective response. Food allergies can run in the family, but testing will be required to know for sure. We may ask you to keep a food diary to pinpoint potential foods causing the issue.
Reactions and symptoms can range from mild to severe, and many times the same food will issue different responses at different times.
Any food can cause a reaction, but 90% of all food allergies are caused by these eight:
- tree nuts
What are common food allergy symptoms?
Food allergy reactions can include the skin, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system and respiratory tract. Commonly reported symptoms are: vomiting/cramping, hives, shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, throat tightening, shock, swelling of the tongue, dizziness, weak pulse, and anaphylaxis. Most symptoms appear within two hours of eating a particular food.
What is a food challenge?
A food challenge is where patients are exposed to the potential allergen in our office under close medical supervision. We will be able to see the reaction first hand and treat quickly if an adverse reaction were to occur. These tests can help determine if you or your loved one have grown out of an allergy as well.
Food allergies are not always straightforward and can be complicated to diagnose and manage. This is why seeing a board-certified allergist is so important. Our experienced doctors will help guide patients through this process and educate on the potential dangers for cross-reactivity with other similar foods.