Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) labels the influx of food allergy diagnoses as an epidemic, and rightfully so. An epidemic refers to “an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area,” according to the CDC. As of 2021, roughly 32 million Americans have a food allergy – 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 13 children.
Although it’s more common to be diagnosed with a food allergy as a child than as an adult, it must be taken seriously no matter your age. If you suspect you’ve developed an allergy to a specific food, follow these three steps.
1. Make a List
An allergic reaction to food can arise within minutes or hours of eating a certain food. We encourage you to make a list of everything you’ve eaten in the last six hours and what symptoms you’re experiencing. Consider these common symptoms of a food allergy:
- Red, itchy skin
- Stomach cramps
- Stuffy or itchy nose
- Teary eyes
These symptoms can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable, but relief is available! Don’t suffer in silence or attempt to self-diagnose. It’s important to talk to an allergist and allow him to run tests to determine exactly what allergen is causing these symptoms to surface.
2. Call an Allergist
The team at Langford Allergy has immense knowledge and experience dealing with food allergies. After completing a skin prick test or blood test, your allergist will read your results and discuss available treatment options. Many people have successfully eliminated their food allergies after completing the build-up and maintenance phases of immunotherapy. Talk to a Langford Allergy team member today to discover if immunotherapy can help you: 478-787-4728.
3. Get an Epipen
Some people have severe allergic reactions to food that result in anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening condition. In addition to the symptoms listed above, you may be experiencing anaphylactic shock if any of the following symptoms occur:
- Lump in the throat
- Throat or chest tightness
- Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp
- Trouble breathing
If you experience any of the above symptoms, call 911 immediately and use your epinephrine injector. Read this blog from our archives to discover the answers to FAQs about epinephrine injectors, like:
- How does the medicine fight my allergic reaction?
- Do I need to call 911?
- Are there different types of epinephrine injectors?
- How will I know if my epinephrine injector is expired?
- How do I use my epinephrine injector?