What’s a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an overreaction of your immune system to a particular protein in food. Your body treats the protein is a threat and reacts with a variety of symptoms. 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. Some of the most common intolerances are being gluten or lactose intolerant.
Common Food Allergy Causes
The majority of allergic reactions are caused by eight foods:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts
How Do I Know I Have 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 of a food allergy include:
- Red, itchy skin
- Stomach cramps
- Stuffy or itchy nose
- Teary eyes
Sometimes, food allergy symptoms can be dangerous, such as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Lump in the throat
- Throat or chest tightness
- Tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp
- Trouble breathing
If any of these anaphylaxis symptoms occur, call 911 immediately.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Food Allergies
Our experts will conduct a series of tests to determine if your reaction is an intolerance or allergy. From there, we’ll give you an EpiPen to immediately treat your reaction if it’s severe enough, and advise you ways to avoid the allergen at all cost.