Food Allergies

Although some food allergies can be minor, others can be life threatening.  Our board certified ENT and Allergy physicians know how important it is to identify and avoid triggers before a severe reaction occurs. The incidence of food allergy in children has dramatically risen. Our ENT and Allergy doctors are able provide guidance on avoidance strategies and treatments in case of allergic reactions. Based on the most recent research, we now also have tools to prevent peanut allergy in infants at risk of developing peanut allergy.

 

TRIGGERS

Your reaction to food allergy triggers can change as you go through life.  For example, a food allergy may not be present early in life, but could develop in the teenage and adult years.  Some of the most common food allergies include:

  • Peanuts and tree nuts
  • Milk
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

 

SYMPTOMS

Food allergy symptoms can occur immediately or within two hours of eating a problem food.  The symptoms can affect one or multiple areas of the body, including the mouth, throat, respiratory, gastrointestinal or cardiovascular systems.  Symptoms can include:

  • Hives and itching
  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, difficulty speaking
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea
  • Dizziness, fainting
  • Anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction to food that can cause constriction of the airways or cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, and shock. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening.

 

TREATMENT

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid foods that you know can cause a problem.  However, it is not always easy to know what ingredients are used in the foods you eat.  The best treatment approach is to be prepared for a possible reaction.

Antihistamines – Minor food allergy symptoms may be relieved by over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines.  These are taken as soon as a reaction is noticed.

Epinephrine – A severe reaction may require an immediate injection of epinephrine.  This is a self-injection device that allows you, or someone else, to quickly inject the medication into the thigh.  An epinephrine injection should be viewed as an emergency.  Following the injection, call an ambulance or go to an emergency room.

Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome – Pollen food allergy syndrome, commonly known as oral allergy syndrome, is a milder type of food allergy that many patients with nasal allergy experience. Common symptoms are itching or tingling of the mouth or throat after eating certain fruits and vegetables. While these allergies tend to be mild, rarely they can be life threatening. It can be difficult to differentiate oral allergy syndrome from more severe food allergies. Our allergists can help determine what type of allergy you have and prepare you with an appropriate action plan.