Allergies are commonplace in the US, over 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind. Less common are food allergies. Allergies to foods affect 4% – 6% of children and 4% of adults(CDC). More common in babies and children, it’s important to note that food allergies can develop at any age. You can even develop an allergy to foods you have eaten for years with no problems.
Have you noticed allergy symptoms? Dr. Lubitz can evaluate your symptoms and determine the source.
Immune System in Overdrive
A well performing immune system keeps you healthy by fighting off infections and other dangers to good health. An allergic reaction to food occurs when your immune system overreacts to a food or a substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering an immune system response.
You can inherit allergies, but it is impossible to predict whether a child will inherit a parent’s food allergy or whether other families suffer with a similar condition.
Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe.
Just because an initial reaction causes few problems doesn’t mean that all reactions will be similar; a food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion may cause more severe symptoms at another time.
While any food can cause an adverse reaction, eight types of food account for about 90 percent of all reactions.
Click on an allergen to learn more about allergic symptoms, foods affected, and avoidance tips.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
Symptoms of an allergic reaction may involve the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory tract.
They can surface in one or more of the following ways:
- Vomiting and/or stomach cramps
- Shortness of breath
- Repetitive cough
- Shock or circulatory collapse
- Tight, hoarse throat; trouble swallowing
- Swelling of the tongue, affecting the ability to talk or breathe
- Weak pulse
- Pale or blue coloring of skin
- Dizziness or feeling faint
The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis — a life-threatening whole-body allergic reaction can occur within minutes of a exposure to a food trigger. Anaphylaxis can impair your breathing, cause a dramatic drop in your blood pressure and affect your heart rate. It can be fatal and must be treated promptly with an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline).
In some very rare cases, Anaphylaxis may be delayed by four to six hours, possibly longer. Delayed reactions are most typically seen in children who develop eczema as a symptom of food allergy and in people with a rare allergy to red meat caused by the bite of a tick.
Another type of delayed food allergy reaction stems from food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), a severe gastrointestinal reaction that generally occurs two to six hours after consuming milk, soy, certain grains and some other solid foods. Occuring primarily in young infants who are being exposed to these foods for the first time or who are being weaned. FPIES often involves repetitive vomiting and can lead to dehydration. In some instances, babies will develop bloody diarrhea. Because the symptoms resemble those of a viral illness or bacterial infection, diagnosis of FPIES may be delayed. Do not delay to seek professional care, FPIES is a medical emergency.
Not everyone who experiences symptoms after eating certain foods has a food allergy or needs to avoid that food entirely. Reactions to raw foods like fruit or a vegetable, some people many experience an itchy mouth and throat. This may indicate oral allergy syndrome and a reaction to pollen, not to the food itself. The immune system recognizes the pollen and similar proteins in the food and directs an allergic response to it.
See yourself in any of these scenarios? Give us a call to discuss your condition. With over 30 years of experience, we can help you identify your triggers and offer support that can help you overcome your symptoms.