With millions of people living with food allergies across the United States, it’s no surprise that so many people are seeking a greater understanding of this subject. From testing processes to treatments for food allergies, countless Atlanta patients want the knowledge to keep themselves and their children safe and healthy. Let’s take a closer look at food allergies, and learn why exposure to certain foods can trigger a reaction.
Understanding Food Allergies
Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the body’s immune system. Food allergy refers to a particular type of response of the immune system in which the body produces what is called an allergic, or IgE, antibody to a food. (IgE, or immunoglobulin E, is a type of protein that works against a specific food.) Allergic reactions to food can cause serious illness and, in some cases, death. Therefore, if you have a food allergy, it is extremely important for you to work with your healthcare provider to find out what food(s) causes your allergic reaction.
What Is Food Intolerance?
Sometimes, a reaction to food is not an allergy at all but another type of reaction called “food intolerance.” Food intolerance is more common than food allergy. The immune system does not cause the symptoms of food intolerance, though these symptoms may look and feel like those of a food allergy. When you are experiencing confusing symptoms that could indicate an allergy or an intolerance, this is a sign you need food allergy testing from a board certified allergist.
How Common Are Food Allergies?
Food allergy affects up to 6 to 8 percent of children under the age of 3 and close to 4 percent of adults. If you have an unpleasant reaction to something you have eaten, you might wonder if you have a food allergy. One out of three people either believe they have a food allergy or modify their or their family’s diet. Thus, while food allergy is commonly suspected, healthcare providers diagnose it less frequently than most people believe.
What Can You Do if You Suspect You Have a Food Allergy?
When facing the threat of a severe allergy, after an adverse reaction it’s natural to feel concerned for your health. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction and protect yourself.
- Keep a food diary – Track what you eat and note any symptoms you experience to identify potential triggers.
- Consult an allergist – Seek professional advice to discuss your concerns and develop a diagnostic plan.
- Undergo food allergy testing – Get an accurate diagnosis through skin prick tests, blood tests or oral food challenges.
- Try an elimination diet – This process (if recommended by your allergist) involves temporarily removing suspected allergens from your diet, then reintroducing them to observe reactions.
- Educate yourself – Learn about common allergens, cross-reactivity and hidden sources of allergens in food products.
Contact Us for Food Allergy Treatments in Atlanta
Dr. Chacko is a leading allergy doctor providing effective treatments for food allergies. When you want testing and treatment for an allergy, visit one of our centers in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth or Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment now.
Courtesy: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases