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Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body's immune system.

In adults, the foods that most often trigger allergic reactions include fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, such as walnuts. Problem foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

The allergic reaction may be mild. In rare cases it can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of food allergy include

  • Itching or swelling in your mouth
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
  • Hives or eczema
  • Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
  • Drop in blood pressure

Your health care provider may use a detailed history, elimination diet, and skin and blood tests to diagnose a food allergy.

When you have food allergies, you must be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, and carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine (adrenaline).

You can only prevent the symptoms of food allergy by avoiding the food. After you and your health care provider have identified the foods to which you are sensitive, you must remove them from your diet.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Symptoms of Food Allergy

The following features are indicative of Food Allergy:
  • tingling or itching in the mouth
  • hives
  • itching
  • eczema
  • swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat
  • wheezing
  • nasal congestion
  • trouble breathing
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
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Common Causes of Food Allergy

The following are the most common causes of Food Allergy:
  • shellfish allergy
  • peanuts allergy
  • tree nuts allergy
  • fish allergy
  • eggs allergy

Risk Factors for Food Allergy

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Food Allergy:
  • family history
  • a past food allergy
  • toddlers and infants
  • asthma

Prevention of Food Allergy

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Food Allergy. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid foods that cause signs and symptoms
  • eat food at hygienic places

Occurrence of Food Allergy

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Food Allergy cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Food Allergy can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Food Allergy can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Food Allergy

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Food Allergy:
  • Physical examination: To identify or exclude other medical problems
  • Food diary: To test eating habits, symptoms and medication
  • Skin test: To determine the reaction to a particular food
  • Blood test: To measure the immune system's response to particular foods

Doctor for Diagnosis of Food Allergy

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Food Allergy:
  • Allergist

Complications of Food Allergy if untreated

Yes, Food Allergy causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Food Allergy is left untreated:
  • life-threatening allergic reaction
  • atopic dermatitis
  • migraine

Self-care for Food Allergy

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Food Allergy:
  • Read food labels carefully: Always read food labels to make sure those don't contain an ingredient you're allergic to
  • Involve caregivers: Understand the condition, if your child has a food allergy

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Food Allergy

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Food Allergy:
  • Acupuncture: Beneficial for the treatment

Patient Support for Treatment of Food Allergy

The following actions may help Food Allergy patients:
  • Connect with others: Discuss food allergies and exchange information with others who share the same concerns
  • Educate those around you: Make sure family and caregivers have a thorough understanding of your child's food allergy
  • Address bullying: Discussing your child's allergy with school personnel greatly reduces your child's risk of being a bullying target

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Food Allergy.

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