Barrington residents ask, “What are common signs and symptoms of a food allergy?”
For patients who have a food allergy, their body has an adverse reaction to proteins that are in a particular food. This allergy can be triggered by even the tiniest amount of the food and it can show up within a matter of minutes, or up to several hours after the initial exposure.
Many food allergies originate during the early childhood years; however, they can develop as an adult and can even come up in foods that were never a problem previously. Some childhood food allergies are outgrown by the time the child reaches adulthood.
Common food allergies include:
- Tree Nuts
- Cow’s Milk
Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergy
Food allergies can present with a vast array of symptoms. For some, these symptoms can be mild and only cause minimal discomfort. For others, they can be potentially fatal. If you experience any sort of allergic reaction, it is imperative that you make an appointment with an allergist to determine the cause of the allergy. Some of the most common symptoms of food allergies are:
- Itchy skin
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Congestion symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes)
- Swelling under the skin
More severe symptoms include:
- Throat swelling
- Trouble breathing
- Wheezing, tightening of the chest
- Loss of consciousness
If you are experiencing anaphylactic shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Diagnosing food allergies can be tricky, because many people actually experience food intolerance versus an actual allergy. Food intolerances may have signs and symptoms similar to food allergies. People with food intolerances can typically ingest a small amount of the problem food without a reaction, whereas patients with an allergy can’t consume any amount without a reaction.
We use a combination of tests including medical history, skin testing, blood testing, as well as food journals to help confirm a food allergy.
The best method of treatment for a food allergy is to avoid the problematic food. This may often involve rigorous inspection of ingredient labels to ensure products you are eating are safe. If you have a minor allergic reaction, antihistamines may relieve symptoms. You may also be given epinephrine that should be carried at all times in case of severe reaction.
For patients in the Barrington area who believe they may be exhibiting symptoms of a food allergy, it is important to call our office and schedule a consultation as soon as possible.