What Are Food Allergies?
While anyone can have food allergies it’s most common for babies and children to develop an allergy to a specific type of food. According to the CDC, around 4-6 percent of children have food allergies. It’s important to understand what symptoms to look out for to determine whether you or your child might have food allergies. Luckily, our allergists Dr. Paul Alberti and Dr. Agnes Czibulka and medical team can help you get your food allergies under control.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
Food allergy symptoms differ from patient to patient. Some people may only experience mild symptoms while others may experience severe symptoms that affect their daily life. It’s important that food allergies are properly addressed even if they are only mild. After all, even mild symptoms can end up becoming more serious over time. Food allergy symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Swelling on the tongue
Symptoms can take minutes to appear and usually occur within two hours after ingesting the offending food. Children who are more likely to develop a rash (eczema) as a result of a food allergy may have a delay in symptoms. If symptoms include trouble breathing, swollen tongue, dizziness or chest pain it’s important that you seek immediate medical attention (these are signs of anaphylaxis, a severe and dangerous allergic reaction).
Common Food Allergies
There are some foods that are more likely to cause allergies than others even though just about any food can cause an allergy. If you suspect that you or your child may have a specific food allergy it’s a good idea to avoid the food until you can schedule a consultation with an allergist. Common food allergies include:
Milk (common in children)
Peanuts and tree nuts
Shellfish and fish (more common in adults)
Treating Food Allergies
The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the food altogether; however, we know that this isn’t always possible, especially when going out to eat. It’s important that you tell restaurants about any allergies you or a loved one has to reduce the likelihood for contamination. Mild-to-moderate symptoms such as a rash or hives can often be treated with an oral antihistamine or allergy drops. Severe symptoms and symptoms of anaphylaxis will require an immediate epinephrine injection, which you will administer yourself when these severe symptoms occur.