Some of the first signs that a person may be having an allergic reaction to a food include:
* a runny nose
* an itchy skin rash *tingling in the tongue, lips, or throat Other symptoms offood allergies include:
* swelling in the throat or other parts of the body
* abdominal pain
* diarrhea or vomiting (throwing up)
*wheezing some people notice these symptoms immediately while others dont notice them for up to several hours after eating a particular food. Everyones different. When Food Allergies Are Severe
For people with a severe food allergy, eating a food or food component that theyre allergic to can be life threatening. A life-threatening allergic reaction can make someone unable to breathe, cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure, and decrease blood flow in the body, especially to the brain, heart, and lungs. This is called anaphylaxis (pronounced an-uh-fuh-Iak-sis)- and allergies that lead to anaphylaxis are called anaphylactic allergies. Severe food allergies - to nuts and peanuts. In particular - sometimes cause anaphylaxis. People who have anaphylactic food allergies might also have seizures or become unconscious as blood flow to the brain decreases. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can happen quickly, and without medical treatment can cause death. Immediate emergency treatment, including medications (such as epinephrine) that increase the heart rate and blood pressure, is needed to control any kind of severe allergic reaction. If you (or anyone else you know) have a severe food allergy and accidentally touch or eat that food and start to have a reaction, you should call 911 or immediately go to the nearest emergency department.
How Are Food Allergies Diagnosed?
If you think that YOU might be allergic to a certain food, dont decide for yourself to eliminate that food from your diet. Go to your doctor and have it checked out. Your doctor will make a diagnosis and recommend the best course of action for you. Doctors use three basic methods to diagnose whether a person has a food allergy:
* Skin test This test involves placing liquid extracts of different foods on a persons forearm or back and pricking the skin a tiny bit so the food .being tested enters the body. If a reddish, raised spot forms, this indicates an allergic reaction. If your doctor wants you to take a skin test, you may need to stop taking anti-allergy medications (such as over-the-counter antihistamines) 2 to 3 days before the skin test because they can interfere with the results. Cold medications and some antidepressants may also affect skin testing.
* Elimination diet. With this method, suspicious foods are removed temporarily from your regular diet. Then (under the direction of your doctor) they are slowly reintroduced one at a time. * Blood test. In this test, a sample of blood is drawn and sent to a lab where it is mixed with some of the suspected allergen and checked for IGE antibodies. If antibodies to the food are found, you have an allergy. If the results of these tests are still unclear, a type of test called a food challenge may be needed for final diagnosis (this test is done only in certain cases). During this test, a person might be given gradually increasing amounts of certain foods to eat while being watched for symptoms by the doctor. This test should only be performed in a doctors office or hospital that has access to immediate medical care and medications. Allergy specialists usually avoid giving this test to people who have had a severe reaction to certain foods in the past.