In a large recent survey, about 8% of children were found to be allergic, with nearly 40% of those patients experiencing a severe reaction. Allergies to foods are common in adults as well. Many patients misdiagnose their allergens, or underestimate their severity. Steven Schnipper MD PC, with offices in Murray Hill, Manhattan, and New Rochelle, New York, helps patients with their food allergy problems. Steven Schnipper MD, a board-certified allergist, works with patients to help identify food allergies. He can also help you develop a plan of action if you mistakenly consume the food. For more information about food allergies, call the office nearest you to make an appointment, or book online today.
Food allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to certain foods that you consume. In many cases, even a minimal amount of the food can cause severe symptoms, so these foods must be avoided strictly.
Even if you never had symptoms before and regularly ate a particular food, you can develop an allergy to it over time. You can outgrow a food allergy as you get older if you had one as a child.
Many people mistakenly confuse a food intolerance for a food allergy, but they’re not the same thing. They have different mechanisms causing them and the treatment is very different. If you have a reaction after eating a particular food and aren’t sure whether it’s a food allergy or a food intolerance, Dr. Schnipper can help sort it out.
The symptoms you get from a food allergy might not be the same every time you come into contact with it. Common allergic reactions include:
Food allergies can trigger a severe reaction called anaphylaxis, which can threaten your life. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
If you experience anaphylaxis from your food allergy, it’s essential to get emergency medical care right away.
Another type of food allergy that commonly affects adults is oral allergy syndrome. This is itchy mouth and throat which comes after eating certain foods such as apples, pears, peaches, and cherries. This type of allergy is actually due to a cross-reactivity between certain pollens and certain foods.
Food allergies come from many different foods, but the majority of food allergy cases involve these eight major foods:
In order to identify your allergy, allergists will get a thorough history and will typically do allergy testing. Allergy skin testing involves a quick poke of the skin, and for most patients this is much less painful than a blood test needle. Furthermore, the results are available in less than fifteen minutes. For some patients, allergy blood tests may be done. For the most accurate skin testing, patients should hold off antihistamines (Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec and others) for a week before testing. If a patient is unable to hold antihistamines, the patient should still come for the evaluation. The allergist may choose to defer the skin test, or do a blood test, which would not be affected by the antihistamines.
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction to food is to avoid the food that causes your reaction. This is why accurately identifying the allergy is so important. However, accidents can happen. Dr. Schnipper will help you develop a customized plan based on the severity of your symptoms. Depending on your needs, appropriate medications may include antihistamines or epinephrine auto-injectors ("EpiPen").
For more information about food allergies and their treatments, schedule an appointment by phone or online at Steven Schnipper MD PC today.