Food Allergies & Intolerances
What is a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a particular molecule in food. Even the smallest traces can trigger potentially life-threatening symptoms such as anaphylaxis which can cause trouble breathing and extremely low blood pressure. However, not all reactions to foods are allergies, so it is important to understand the difference between food intolerances and food allergies. Food intolerance symptoms typically show up gradually and don’t involve an immune system reaction.
The majority of allergic reactions are caused by eight foods:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
Symptoms of a Food Allergy
Typically, an allergic reaction to food occurs immediately after coming in contact with the protein, but at times the reaction may manifest several hours later. Symptoms include hives or red, itchy skin, stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing, teary eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, or swelling. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hoarseness, throat or chest tightness, lump in the throat, wheezing, trouble breathing, or tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp. If any of these anaphylaxis symptoms occur, call 911 immediately. To learn about the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance, read our article here.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Food Allergies
It is critical to determine if your reactions to certain foods are caused by an allergy or an intolerance. Dr. Brauer can properly diagnose your condition through a skin test, blood test, or food challenge. After your food allergy is accurately diagnosed, she will work with you to determine the best treatment plan. If you have severe reactions to certain foods, Dr. Brauer will educate you on an Anaphylaxis Action Plan will include autoinjectable epinephrine, Epipen or Auvi-Q, which may be available at no cost through your insurance.
Dr. Brauer takes a special interest in food allergy diagnosis and treatment, as well as cutting edge therapies and emerging evidence about food allergies. While many childhood food allergies are outgrown, recent studies suggest that egg or milk baked into foods may actually be tolerated well in advance of the resolution of the allergy. Ask about our food allergy dietician counseling or an in-office challenge to baked egg, baked milk, or another allergen today! You may also have an allergy to red meat known as alpha-gal syndrome. Learn more about this allergy here.
Note from Dr. Brauer
As a parent myself, I understand the value of knowing your child is safe. Since skin testing is so simple and gets quick results, sometimes just knowing the testing is negative can be very reassuring. I am very involved in counseling, community education forums, and local support groups to help our patients live safe and full lives despite their food allergy restrictions. Be sure to ask about national food allergy support resources as well.
Ask us about our stock of food allergy bracelets for kids and medic alert tags!