A food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your immune system. Foods that you have eaten for years without problems can cause allergies.
In children, the problem foods that most often trigger allergic reactions include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. Problem foods for adults include fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and walnuts.
Symptoms of food allergy include:
- Itching and swelling in your mouth
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
- Hives and eczema
- Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
- Drop in blood pressure
Your doctor may use skin and blood tests, elimination diet, and a detailed history to diagnose a food allergy.
The best way to prevent symptoms of a food allergy is by avoiding the food entirely. Consult your health care provider to help identify which foods you are sensitive to and eliminate them from your diet.
Many packaged foods are processed in facilities that contain nuts, soy, and wheat. It is important to read all labels before consuming the food. Restaurants may prepare foods with milk, eggs, or wheat and cook with peanut oil. Don’t be shy to ask questions to ensure the safety of your friends and family. Individuals can wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace and carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine (adrenaline).