Food allergies occur when a person's immune system reacts badly to a certain food protein. This reaction occurs because the food is mistakenly processed as a danger to the body.
Food allergy symptoms may be quite minor or quite serious. They can even be life-threatening. Some of the more minor symptoms include hives, reddening of the facial skin, itchiness in the mouth area, nausea, diarrhea, cold-like symptoms, a metallic or other odd taste in the mouth, and stomach pain. The serious or potentially life-threatening symptoms include an inability to swallow, breathing problems, a blue tinge to the skin, loss of consciousness, feeling of sudden weakness, chest pain, a pulse that is hard to find or is very weak, and a feeling of doom.
A food intolerance occurs when the body isn't able to digest a certain food easily. Eating that food may cause some minor to moderate symptoms like stomach upset and stomach pain, but it will not cause severe or even life-threatening symptoms like a food allergy could. For example, people with a lactose intolerance may feel stomach pain when they drink milk, but they won't have the same type of potentially severe symptoms that people with a milk allergy could.
While there are well over 170 foods that can cause allergies, a small handful of these foods makes up 90 percent of food allergies today. The most common food allergies are peanut, milk, egg, tree nut, fish, soy, wheat, and shellfish allergies.
The treatment for food allergies depends on the specific patient and the severity of their reaction. The first line of defense against a food allergy is avoidance of the trigger food. Accurate testing and diagnosis are extremely helpful for this reason. Patients who have severe food allergies will also typically be given an auto-injector of epinephrine, something that can be lifesaving in emergencies.
At Asthma & Allergy Clinic, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.