What are the most common food allergies?
There was a 20% increase in the number of patients diagnosed with new food allergy between 1997 and 2007. Food allergy is a very common problem for both children and adults. The most common food allergies are to cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts/seeds, wheat, fish and shellfish. It is possible to be allergic to any food.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
Symptoms vary on a case by case basis. Classic symptoms include skin reactions such as hives, itching, flushing/redness of the skin and swelling, as well as the possibility of nausea/vomiting and diarrhea. You can also have respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, or wheeze. Some patients experience a decrease of blood pressure, which may result in dizziness or loss of consciousness.
How do you test for food allergies?
There are two ways to test for food allergy. Usually the first step to test for food allergy is by performing skin testing. Alternatively one could perform a blood test. To perform skin testing, we gently scratch the skin with a plastic tip that deposits protein from whatever foods are being tested. Then we wait……15 minutes later we read the results, and have a discussion with our patients. You can get the results the same day of testing.