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Allergist in Elgin, IL diagnoses food allergy to tailor treatment plan

Allergist Elgin IL
Visit Food Allergies Page to learn more | Contact Us

Allergies to food may seem more common today than they were when you were a child.

It’s estimated that for every three people, one has modified a diet because of a suspected food allergy. That may sound like an extremely common condition, but only around 5 percent of kids reportedly have “clinically proven” allergies to foods. In adults that figure is even lower, around 4 percent.

What accounts for the gulf between perceived food allergies and genuine, clinical conditions? Mayo Clinic believes such disconnect lies in an allergy mistakenly being blamed for symptoms that are actually caused by food intolerance.

Allergy or intolerance?

It’s easy to confuse an allergy to food with intolerance of said food.

Like other allergies, a true food allergy is an immune system response to a certain edible, often shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or eggs.

Even a small amount of the food can trigger symptoms ranging from mouth tingling and itching, hives or a rash, and facial swelling to wheezing and congestion, stomach pain and vomiting, and lightheadedness.

Even more troubling, exposure to a food in some allergic people can trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction whereby the airways tighten, the throat swells, blood pressure plummets, pulse races and the sufferer may pass out.

Intolerance, on the other hand, is generally less serious and limited to digestive conditions.

Intolerance to a food (commonly dairy, wheat, gluten, yeast, or alcohol) may still mean you can consume at least some of the food without debilitating or, as is the case with severe allergies, deadly effects.

You may also be able to prevent a reaction by consuming, for example, lactose-free, soy, almond or rice milk, or avoiding consumption of a food or drink altogether.

While some symptoms of intolerance may be similar to allergies (such as stomach pain and diarrhea), this condition is generally exclusively centered on the GI tract, and it includes:

  • Cramping
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Irritation, nervousness

As a board-certified allergist team at Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois, we can identify if what ails you is a true food allergy or an intolerance.

The sooner we identify the true nature of your symptoms, the sooner you can feel better by adhering to a customized treatment plan that may include the following:

  • Avoidance where possible
  • OTC or prescribed antihistamines for minor symptoms
  • An EpiPen (epinephrine injector) for severe symptoms
  • Oral immunotherapy

Immunotherapy involves small doses of a trigger food (in those with allergies) being swallowed or placed under the tongue. The dose of this food extract is gradually increased until a “maintenance” phase is reached, whereby dosing is reduced to every two to four weeks versus every week or every other week. By introducing a very small, measured part of the food to you, your immune system will eventually grow to tolerate it and the immune system’s hyperactive response to the food will be suppressed.

Don’t suffer with a food allergy. Allergist expertise can be found in Elgin IL at our office on Westfield Drive, behind the 1710 Randall Road Medical Office park.


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Dr. Noga Askenazi, Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates

Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates

Dr. Noga Askenazi | Dr. Eugenia Hahn | Meredith Cirrincione

Dr. Noga Askenazi is a nationally recognized asthma and allergy specialist who is board certified in pediatric and adult allergy. Her areas of special interest are innovative treatment of rashes, sinusitis, food allergies, asthma and immune disorders. She was past President of the ISAAI (Illinois Society of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology), works on state and national committees for advancement of the allergy field and is a consultant for Advocate, AMITA, Northwestern amongst other health care systems. Her joy is helping patients reach their goals after together determining best treatments. Her staff and patients are a chosen family, and she invests in their happiness. She enjoys gardening, biking and cooking to good music.

Dr. Eugenia Hahn is a highly recognized board certified allergist and immunologist who treats patients of all ages. Her areas of special interest are food allergy, eczema, and asthma. She is president of the Illinois Society of Allergy & Asthma, a National Committee leader of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology working on new treatment options for patients. She is a consultant for Advocate, Northwestern, AMITA, Northwest Community healthcare systems amongst many others. Her patients mean everything to her as she takes pride in finding the why behind the problem. She enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Meredith Cirrincione is a board certified Physician Assistant and specializes in treating allergies, with a focus on asthma, rashes, environmental allergies, chemical and food allergies. She holds a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from The Chicago Medical School - Rosalind Franklin University of Health Sciences. She is a Fellow member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Association of PAs in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She likes to approach things holistically. She is a strong patient advocate and adored by her patients. She enjoys singing, reading, cooking, and the great outdoors.