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Food Allergies

Food allergies are immune system responses to certain foods and can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening reactions. Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, and sesame. Here’s what you need to know:

Did you know…

food allergies affect millions of people worldwide and are a growing public health concern. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization, approximately 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under the age of 18. Allergic reactions to food can occur within minutes to hours after ingestion and can involve various symptoms, including hives, swelling, itching, gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory symptoms, and anaphylaxis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if I have a food allergy?

Symptoms of food allergies can vary widely and may include skin reactions (such as hives or eczema), gastrointestinal symptoms (such as abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea), respiratory symptoms (such as nasal congestion or wheezing), and cardiovascular symptoms (such as lightheadedness or loss of consciousness). If you experience any unusual symptoms after consuming a particular food, especially if they occur consistently with each exposure, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for evaluation.

What should I do if I suspect I have a food allergy?

If you suspect you have a food allergy, it’s crucial to seek medical evaluation promptly. Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, symptoms, and may recommend allergy testing, such as skin prick tests or blood tests, to identify specific food allergens. It’s also essential to carefully read food labels and avoid foods that contain known allergens. In cases of severe or life-threatening reactions, such as anaphylaxis, immediate medical attention is necessary.

How are food allergies treated?

Treatment for food allergies primarily involves strict avoidance of the allergenic food and preparedness for managing allergic reactions. If you have a known food allergy, it’s essential to communicate this information to others, including family members, caregivers, and restaurant staff, to prevent accidental exposure. Your healthcare provider may prescribe emergency medications, such as epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens), for use in case of severe allergic reactions. Additionally, allergen immunotherapy, also known as oral immunotherapy or desensitization, may be considered under the guidance of an allergist or immunologist for certain food allergies. Currently, however, we at AAAM do not have the infrastructure in place to offer oral immunotherapy for food allergy, but can make referrals to those who do offer this service. That said, we do offer Omalizumab (Xolair) injections for multiple food allergy desensitization, for those who are appropriate candidates for this therapy (see Biologic Therapies section).

Remember, if you suspect you have a food allergy, seek prompt medical evaluation and inform your healthcare providers to ensure safe and effective management of your condition. With proper diagnosis and management, food allergies can be effectively controlled, allowing you to maintain a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

Are all ‘food allergies’ diagnosed and managed the same way?

No. As mentioned above “food allergies” are an “immune response to certain foods”. Broadly speaking, there are adverse food reaction syndromes, of which “food allergy” is just one example. Food sensitivities and/or intolerances are other examples of adverse food reaction syndromes. Our expertise, focus, and testing methodologies are with food allergy and not so much with sensitivities and intolerances.


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Whether you’re seeking insights on managing allergies, learning about treatment options, or finding tips for allergy prevention, our website has everything you need.