- When Is an Allergic Reaction an Emergency?
- Food Allergy
- How Long do Food Allergies Last?
- Allergic Disease – Can You Prevent with Diet?
- Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)
- Symptoms of OAS
- Causes of OAS
- OAS and Nose Allergies Can Be Linked
- Call 911 Now
- Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Self Care at Home
- Care Advice
- And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms
- Food Allergies in Children
- What causes food allergy?
- What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?
- What foods most often cause food allergy?
- What are the symptoms of food allergy?
- Treatment for food allergy
- Milk and soy allergy
- Prevention of food allergies
- Dining out with food allergies
- When Is a Food Allergy a Medical Emergency?
- What Is a Food Allergy?
- Signs You Might Have a Food Allergy
- Food allergy vs. food intolerance
- Common food allergies
- Pollen-food allergy syndrome
- Food allergy signs and symptoms
- What to do if you have an allergic reaction
- First aid for anaphylaxis
- Elimination diets
- Subscribe to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog
- Food Allergies
- Food allergy causes
- Food allergy risk factors
- Food allergy symptoms
- Food allergy diagnosis
- Food allergy treatment
- When to seek care
- Next Steps
When Is an Allergic Reaction an Emergency?
How to Identify Anaphylaxis
The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis can vary greatly from person to person as well as from time to time in the same person. Also, they may develop very quickly — within seconds of exposure to an allergen — or evolve over an hour or so.
The most common signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- Cough, difficulty or irregular breathing, wheezing, itchy throat or mouth, and difficulty swallowing
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea
- Itchiness, red bumps or welts on the skin (hives), and skin redness
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, chest discomfort or tightness, mental confusion, weakness, lower blood pressure, rapid pulse, loss of consciousness, and fainting
An allergic reaction becomes more serious and is considered a medical emergency when any of the signs or symptoms are particularly severe, such as loss of consciousness or difficulty breathing, or if different parts or systems of the body are involved, such as having the combination of hives and vomiting, Dr. Sicherer says.
How to Treat Anaphylaxis
As soon as anaphylaxis is detected, call 9-1-1 immediately and administer epinephrine if available. Try to keep the person as calm as possible.
If he or she has been diagnosed with a severe allergy, emergency medicine should be on hand.
“The only treatment is injectable epinephrine,” says Robert Wood, MD, a professor of pediatrics and the chief of the division of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Md.
“The most common misconception is that epinephrine is dangerous, which isn’t the case. Some doctors will often warn people not to give epinephrine until the last resort, but people with a severe allergic reaction need to take it sooner rather than later.”
People who have severe allergies may be told by their doctor to take a dose of epinephrine even before serious symptoms develop. “For example, if someone has a severe peanut allergy and they know they ate peanut, you could reasonably give the epinephrine before symptoms occur or if there were only mild ones,” Sicherer says.
While waiting for medical assistance to arrive, follow these potentially life-saving tips:
- Avoid giving any oral allergy medicine and any liquids if the person is having trouble breathing.
- If the allergic reaction is from a bee sting, scrape the stinger off with a credit card or fingernail. Do not use tweezers, which will release more venom into the sting site.
- To help prevent shock, have the person lie flat with his or her feet elevated about 12 inches and cover him or her with a blanket or jacket. Do not put the person in this position if it causes discomfort or if a neck, back, or leg injury is suspected.
- Do not put a pillow under the person’s head if he or she is having trouble breathing.
At the Emergency Room
Treating anaphylaxis doesn’t end with injecting epinephrine, even if the person feels better. The next step is seeking medical care at an emergency room (ER).
“The reason you must go to the ER is because you’re having a serious allergic reaction, and even if you feel better after taking epinephrine, the symptoms can still come back,” Sicherer says.
In fact, sometimes a person may get better after a severe allergic reaction but then have symptoms come back even stronger several hours later, which is called biphasic anaphylaxis, he adds. “You should go to the ER and stay there for at least four hours to make sure the symptoms are under control,” Sicherer says. Medical personnel will monitor you and give additional medications if needed.
- Allergic reactions to foods
- The most common symptom is hives
- Questions about food allergies
- Oral Allergy Syndrome is also covered. The main symptom is mouth itching and swelling. The main triggers are raw fruits and veggies.
- Hives all over and swelling of the face are the most common symptoms. Hives are raised pink bumps with pale centers (welts). They look bug bites.
- Mouth itching and swelling
- Runny nose and coughing
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Life-threatening allergic reactions also must have trouble breathing and/or swallowing. The medical name for this is anaphylaxis. Most of these reactions have a sudden onset within 10 to 20 minutes. All occur within 2 hours of eating a certain food. People who have had this carry an emergency kit an Epi-Pen.
- 8 foods cause 90% of food allergies
- In the first year of life: cow's milk, soy milk and egg
- Older children: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat
- Shellfish include shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, oysters and scallops
- Tree nuts include all the nuts (such as almonds and cashews) except peanuts.
- Of children with a proven food allergy, 40% have severe reactions. The other 60% have mild reactions.
- Peanuts and tree nuts are the most common triggers for severe reactions.
Children with allergies listed below can react to other foods:
- Cow's milk allergy: 90% also react with goat's milk and 40% with soy milk
- Egg: 5% react with chicken
- Peanut: 5% react with other legumes ( peas or beans). About 30% also react to tree nuts.
- Tree nut: 40% react with other tree nuts
- Fish: 50% react with other fish. Only 10% also react to shellfish.
- Shellfish: 70% react with other shellfish
- Melon: 90% react with banana and avocado
How Long do Food Allergies Last?
- Cow's milk: 80% outgrown by age 16
- Soy milk: 80% by age 16
- Egg: 70% by age 16
- Peanut: 20% by age 16
- Tree nut: 10% by age 16
Allergic Disease – Can You Prevent with Diet?
- Most allergic diseases (food allergies, eczema and asthma) cannot be prevented.
- Helpful: Feeding only breastmilk for 6 months or longer
- Not helpful: Avoiding high-risk foods for pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Not helpful: Soy formulas instead of cow's milk formula
- Not helpful: A delay in starting baby foods past 6 months
- Not helpful: A delay in starting high-risk foods peanut butter or eggs
- Source: AAP
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)
- A minor reaction to some raw fruits and veggies
- Causes itching and swelling only to the lips and tongue
- Also called Pollen-Food Syndrome
Symptoms of OAS
- Rapid onset of itching (or tingling) and swelling of the mouth.
- This can involve the lips, tongue, throat, and roof of the mouth.
- The uvula (tag of tissue hanging down in back) can become very swollen.
- These symptoms follow eating a high-risk raw fruit or veggie.
- OAS can start by age 5.
- Serious symptoms or very bad reactions rarely happen.
Causes of OAS
- A contact allergy. It only involves the parts of the mouth that touch the raw food.
- Trigger foods for OAS are always raw (not cooked.)
- Fresh Fruits. These include apple, apricot, banana, cherry, melons, orange, peach and pear.
- Raw Veggies. These include carrot, celery, parsley, potato and tomato. Carrots and celery have the highest risk for also causing serious symptoms.
- Certain Seeds. These include sunflower seeds and fennel seeds.
OAS and Nose Allergies Can Be Linked
- Over 50% of people who are allergic to pollen also have OAS. This means 10% of all people.
- Ragweed pollen allergy can cross-react with all melons. Also, sometimes with bananas and tomatoes.
- Birch pollen allergy can cross-react with raw potatoes, carrots, celery and apples.
- Grass pollen allergy can cross-react with tomato and kiwi.
Call 911 Now
- Life-threatening allergic reaction to similar food in the past. Food eaten less than 2 hours ago.
- Trouble breathing or wheezing
- Hoarse voice or cough start all of a sudden
- Trouble swallowing, drooling or slurred speech start all of a sudden
- You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Hives all over start 2 to 4 hours after eating high-risk food. High-risk foods include nuts, fish, shellfish, or eggs.
- Major face swelling (not just lips) starts 2 to 4 hours after eating high-risk food
- Vomiting or stomach cramps starts 2 to 4 hours after eating high-risk food
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Other symptoms that might be from a food allergy and present now
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Recurrent symptoms that might be from a food allergy but not present now
- Oral Allergy Syndrome suspected but never confirmed by a doctor
- Food allergy diagnosed and you want to restart that food
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
- Food allergy: mild reaction
- Oral allergy syndrome
Treatment of a Food Allergy
- What You Should Know About Food Allergies:
- About 5% of children have food allergies.
- Most children with a new food reaction need to be seen.
- If your child is stable, hives often can be treated at home.
- Hives as the only symptom can have many causes.
- Your child can be seen later to decide future risks and best treatment.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Give Benadryl 4 times per day for hives all over. No prescription is needed.
- If you only have another allergy med at home (but not Benadryl), use that. Follow the package directions.
- Use the Benadryl 4 times per day until the hives are gone for 12 hours.
- Caution: Do not use if age is under 1 year. Reason: Benadryl makes most children sleepy. Give your doctor a call for advice.
- Cool Bath for Itching:
- To help with any itching, can also give a cool bath. Do this for 10 minutes.
- Caution: Do not cause a chill.
- How to Prevent Future Reactions:
- Help your child avoid the food that caused the symptoms.
- Read labels on all food products fully.
- Tell other people who care for your child of your child's food allergy. Also, inform the staff at your child's school.
- Learn more at Food Allergy Research and Education.
- What to Expect:
- Hives from foods often last just a short time.
- They often are gone in less than 6 hours.
- Return to School:
- Hives cannot be spread to others.
- Your child can go back to school once feeling better. The hives shouldn't keep him from doing normal things.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Trouble breathing occurs
- Trouble swallowing or drooling occurs
- Severe hives not better after 2 doses of Benadryl
- Hives last over 24 hours
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
Treatment of Oral Allergy Syndrome Symptoms
- What You Should Know:
- Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is very common. It happens in 10% of people. Most of them also have pollen allergies.
- The symptoms are not harmful and can be treated at home.
- Needed for OAS: Your child has never had any serious symptoms with this food.
- OAS symptoms don't last very long.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Rinse the Mouth:
- Rinse the lips and mouth with warm water. Do this a few times.
- Reason: To remove any traces of the food.
- Cold Pack:
- Use ice or a cold pack to the swollen lips or tongue for 10 minutes.
- Reason: To lessen the swelling and the itch.
- One dose of Benadryl may help the symptoms go away faster.
- No prescription is needed.
- If you only have another allergy med at home (but not Benadryl), use that. Follow the package directions.
- How to Prevent Future OAS:
- Keep a list of the foods that cause your child's symptoms.
- Avoid these foods if they are raw (fresh).
- The cooked version of these foods usually won't cause any symptoms.
- What to Expect:
- With or without treatment, the itching will go away in 1 to 2 hours.
- The mouth swelling will also go away quickly.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Trouble swallowing or drooling occurs
- Trouble breathing occurs
- Swelling or rash occurs anywhere else
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Last Reviewed: 04/25/2020
Food Allergies in Children
A food allergy is an abnormal response of the body to a certain food. It isimportant to know that this is different than a food intolerance, whichdoes not affect the immune system, although some of the same symptoms maybe present.
What causes food allergy?
Before having a food allergy reaction, a sensitive child must have beenexposed to the food at least once before, or could also be sensitizedthrough breast milk.
It is the second time your child eats the food thatthe allergic symptoms happen.
At that time, when IgE antibodies react withthe food, histamines are released, which can cause your child to experiencehives, asthma, itching in the mouth, trouble breathing, stomach pains,vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?
Food allergy causes an immune system response, causing symptoms in yourchild that range from uncomfortable to life-threatening. Food intolerancedoes not affect the immune system, although some symptoms may be the sameas in food allergy.
What foods most often cause food allergy?
Approximately 90 percent of all food allergies are caused by the followingeight foods:
- Tree nuts
Eggs, milk, and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies inchildren, with wheat, soy, and tree nuts also included. Peanuts, tree nuts,fish, and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions.
Nearly 5percent of children under the age of five years have food allergies. From1997 to 2007, the prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18 percentamong children under age 18 years.
Although most children “outgrow” theirallergies, allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish may belifelong.
What are the symptoms of food allergy?
Allergic symptoms may begin within minutes to an hour after ingesting thefood. The following are the most common symptoms of food allergy. However,each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, or mouth
- Itching or tightness in the throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Lowered blood pressure
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, itdoes not take much of the food to cause a severe reaction in highlyallergic people. In fact, as little as 1/44,000 of a peanut kernel cancause an allergic reaction for severely allergic individuals.
The symptoms of food allergy may resemble other problems or medicalconditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
Treatment for food allergy
There is no medication to prevent food allergy. The goal of treatment is toavoid the foods that cause the symptoms.
After seeing your child's doctorand finding foods to which your child is allergic, it is very important toavoid these foods and other similar foods in that food group.
If you arebreastfeeding your child, it is important to avoid foods in your diet towhich your child is allergic. Small amounts of the food allergen may betransmitted to your child through your breast milk and cause a reaction.
It is also important to give vitamins and minerals to your child if he orshe is unable to eat certain foods. Discuss this with your child's doctor.
For children who have had a severe food reaction, your child's health careprovider may prescribe an emergency kit that contains epinephrine, whichhelps stop the symptoms of severe reactions. Consult your child's doctorfor further information.
Some children, under the direction of his or her health care provider, maybe given certain foods again after three to six months to see if he or shehas outgrown the allergy. Many allergies may be short-term in children andthe food may be tolerated after the age of 3 or 4.
Milk and soy allergy
Allergies to milk and soy are usually seen in infants and young children.Often, these symptoms are un the symptoms of other allergies, but,rather, may include the following:
- Colic (fussy baby)
- Blood in your child's stool
- Poor growth
Often, your child's doctor will change your baby's formula to a soy formulaor breast milk if it is thought he or she is allergic to milk. If yourchild has problems with soy formula, your child's health care providermight change him or her to an easily digested hypoallergenic formula.
The symptoms of a milk or soy allergy may resemble other problems ormedical conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
Prevention of food allergies
The development of food allergies cannot be prevented, but can often bedelayed in infants by following these recommendations:
- If possible, breastfeed your infant for the first six months.
- Do not give solid foods until your child is 6 months of age or older.
- Avoid cow's milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, and fish during your child's first year of life.
Dining out with food allergies
If your child has one or more food allergies, dining out can be achallenge. However, it is possible to have a healthy and satisfyingdining-out experience; it just takes some preparation and persistence onyour part.
The American Dietetics Association offers these tips for dealing with foodallergies when your family is eating away from home:
- Know what ingredients are in the foods at the restaurant where you plan to eat. When possible, obtain a menu from the restaurant ahead of time and review the menu items.
- Let your server know from the beginning about your child's food allergy. He or she should know how each dish is prepared and what ingredients are used. Ask about preparation and ingredients before you order. If your server does not know this information or seems unsure of it, ask to speak to the manager or the chef.
- Avoid buffet-style or family-style service, as there may be cross-contamination of foods from using the same utensils for different dishes.
- Avoid fried foods, as the same oil may be used to fry several different foods.
Another strategy for dining out with food allergies is to give your serveror the manager a food allergy card.
A food allergy card containsinformation about the specific items your child is allergic to, along withadditional information, such as a reminder to make sure all utensils andequipment used to prepare your meal is thoroughly cleaned prior to use.
Youcan easily print these cards yourself using a computer and printer. If yourchild is eating out with friends and you are not going to be present, giveyour child a food allergy card (or make sure the adult in charge has one)to give to the server.
Alternately, there are several types of allergy cards available on theinternet that can be customized with your child's personal information. Oneexample is the Food Allergy Buddy Dining Card, promoted by the NationalRestaurant Association.
The Food Allergy Initiative, in conjunction with the National RestaurantAssociation and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, has developed theFood Allergy Training Program for Restaurants and Food Services.
Thistraining program was developed to help restaurants and other food serviceoutlets to ensure their customers, including those with food allergies,will receive a safe meal prepared to customer specifications.
When Is a Food Allergy a Medical Emergency?
Food allergies are a serious medical condition affecting an estimated 15 million people in the United States. A food allergy sends someone to the ER every three minutes! Read on to learn more about food allergies and what to do in an emergency.
What Is a Food Allergy?
Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. Most food allergies first develop in children 6 years old or younger, but food allergies can appear in adults as well.
While any food can trigger a reaction, eight specific foods make up about 90% of all allergic reactions:
- Tree nuts ( walnuts and pecans)
What Are the Symptoms of a Food Allergy?
An allergic reaction can happen within minutes of eating, or it may happen hours later. Food allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. Just because an initial reaction causes few problems doesn’t mean that all reactions will be similar; a food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion may cause more severe symptoms at another time.
“Many people think they only have a food intolerance to certain foods,” says Dr. Brian Aldred, medical director of Five Star ER in Round Rock, TX.
“If you experience mild abdominal pain, bloating, or nausea after eating, it is most ly a case of food intolerance. If you develop a rash, itching of the skin/tongue/throat, or any sensation of tongue or throat swelling, you ly are having a food allergy.
Mild food allergies may become more severe, and even life-threatening, with a subsequent exposure to the food.”
Mild symptoms of a food allergy include:
- Red, swollen, dry, or itchy skin rash (hives or eczema)
- Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or a slight, dry cough
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Itchy mouth or inside your ear
- Funny taste in your mouth
- Upset stomach, cramps, throwing up, or diarrhea
Severe symptoms of a food allergy include:
Mild to moderate symptoms (e.g., itching, sneezing, hives or rashes) are often treated with antihistamines and oral or topical steroids. Severe food allergy reactions should be treated as an emergency and medical help should be sought immediately.
“Simple rashes can often be treated with topical benadryl or oral benadryl,” says Dr. Mike Zimmerman, medical director of Five Star ER in Pflugerville, TX.
When Is a Food Allergy a Medical Emergency?
Severe symptoms of a food allergy alone or in combination with mild symptoms may be signs of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
During an anaphylactic reaction, the body releases chemical substances, including histamine, into the blood stream which causes blood vessels in multiple parts of the body to swell.
Within minutes of an anaphylactic reaction, a person’s airways could become so restricted that they are unable to breathe.
“If you are having any swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, throat, or any feeling you can’t breathe, you need to go to the ER ASAP,” Zimmerman says.
Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, including a prompt injection of epinephrine and a trip to a hospital emergency room. If it isn’t treated properly, anaphylaxis can be fatal.
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About Five Star ER
Five Star ER is locally owned and operated by the physicians of Emergency Service Partners, L.P., a respected provider of emergency physician services to hospitals and health systems across Texas for nearly 30. Our experienced physicians bring their excellent tradition of emergency care to a first-class, patient-centered freestanding ER.
Our patient-centered care means you will come first. Our freestanding ER provides the capabilities of a hospital emergency department, without the hassles and long waits that can be part of a hospital ER.
From the comfortable lounge area and private exam rooms, to our top-notch medical team and latest technology, patients can be door-to-doctor in less than 15 minutes. To find the location nearest you, click here.
This content was created to be purely educational in nature. This post is not meant to be used as a substitute for medical treatment or personal consultation regarding a medical condition. As always, if you or a loved one is suffering a life-threatening medical emergency or injury, call 911.
Signs You Might Have a Food Allergy
- General Health
- Health Across Oklahoma
A large-scale medicalstudy recently reported that approximately 3.6 percent of Americans areallergic to one or more foods and that number is growing.
Food allergies occurwhen people consume a certain food that triggers an abnormal response fromtheir immune system.
This abnormal response is caused when the immune systemrecognizes normally safe food proteins as harmful — the symptoms that followare called an allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions can range from minor to life-threateningand can cause a wide range of symptoms depending on how severely the immunesystem reacts to foods. Minor allergic reactions can usually be managed withcommon medications, while severe allergic reactions typically mandate emergencymedical intervention.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to tell if they’rehaving an allergic reaction to food. We’re taking a look at the foods that mostcommonly cause allergic reactions, the symptoms that typically accompany a foodallergy and what to do if you believe you’re having an allergic reaction.
Food allergy vs. food intolerance
Did you know the term food allergy is widely overused? Manypeople believe they have a food allergy when they actually have a foodintolerance. The two are commonly confused because they produce some of thesame symptoms.
A food allergy causes an immune system reaction that canaffect numerous organs in the body every time a certain food is consumed,touched or inhaled — potentially causing life-threatening symptoms. On theother hand, a food intolerance occurs when a certain food irritates thedigestive system because your body is unable to properly digest it.
Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies.In fact, almost everyone will experience a negative digestive response aftereating at some point in their life.
Un allergies, intolerances are oftendose-related, meaning symptoms may not present until a large amount is eaten orthe food is eaten frequently.
The most common food intolerance (affectingalmost 10 percent of Americans) is an intolerance to lactose, which is found inmilk and other dairy products.
Food intolerance symptoms commonly include:
· Nausea or stomach pain
· Gas, cramps or bloating
· Irritability or nervousness
Common food allergies
According to the USDA, more than 160 foods are known tocause allergic reactions. However, 90 percent of allergic reactions are causedby just eight foods:
· Crustacean shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab,etc.)
· Treenuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
· Wheat and other grains with gluten (barley, ryeand oats)
These foods, and any ingredient that contains proteinderived from one or more of them, are officially designated as the main foodallergens by the FoodAllergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
Some allergic reactions are more common in either childhoodor adulthood. For children, peanuts,milk, soybeans, tree nuts, eggs and wheat are the most common allergies. Mostchildren grow their allergies early on in childhood and can begin eatingthese foods again later on. For adults, fish, peanuts, shellfish and tree nuts mostcommonly cause allergic reactions.
Pollen-food allergy syndrome
Pollen-food allergy syndrome, also called oral allergysyndrome, is another type of food allergy that commonly affects those whosuffer from hayfever.
This condition causes many fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and spicesto trigger an allergic reaction that can make the mouth itch or tingle.
Thisreaction happens because proteins found in these foods are similar to proteinsfound in certain pollens that cause many people’s allergies. Cooking thesefoods can often lessen the severity of resulting symptoms.
Food allergy signs and symptoms
Food allergy signs and symptoms can range from mild tosevere and affect each individual differently. The amount of food necessary tocause an allergic reaction also varies widely from person to person.
Allergysymptoms can occur within minutes of being exposed to food allergens or up toseveral hours later.
Not every person will experience all symptoms of anallergic reaction, but common signs and symptoms include the following.
· Hives or eczema – red, swollen, dry or itchyskin rash
· Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing or a dry cough
· Itchy, watery, red eyes
· Itchy or tingling mouth or inner ear
· Burning sensation on lips or in mouth
· Funny taste in the mouth
· Upset stomach, cramps, vomiting or diarrhea
· Squeaky voice or slurred speech (common inchildren)
Signs and symptoms of a more severe allergic reactioninclude:
· Trouble breathing or swallowing
· Swollen lips, tongue or throat
· Feeling weak, confused or light-headed
· Loss of consciousness
· Chest pain or weak, uneven heartbeat
People who are severely allergic to certain foods mayexperience anaphylaxis several seconds or minutes after even minor exposure.Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be life-threatening as itaffects the entire body.
Signs of anaphylaxis include constriction andtightening of the airways, shock, heart palpitations, dizziness or fainting,weak and rapid pulse, low blood pressure, pale skin, flopping motions(especially in children), abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and skin reactions,such as rash or hives.
Anaphylaxis a medical emergency and requires swift emergencytreatment. If untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to a coma or even death. Thosewho know they have a severe allergy to certain foods should always carryinjectable epinephrine (commonly called an EpiPen) as it can ease symptomsuntil a medical facility can be reached.
What to do if you have an allergic reaction
For minor allergic reactions, over-the-counter decongestantsand antihistamines ( Benadryl) can usually provide relief. Antihistaminescan help prevent and treat symptoms hives, while decongestants can helpclear a congested nose. Both options are usually available in tablet, eye dropor nasal spray forms at your local pharmacy or drug store.
For skin irritation, ice and topical creams that containcorticosteroids can help alleviate swelling, redness and itching. If theseover-the-counter allergy solutions don’t do the trick, make an appointment withyour doctor.
First aid for anaphylaxis
For severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis, emergency medicalattention is necessary. If someone you know experiences symptoms consistentwith anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately. Even if symptoms begin to improve, theycan sometimes return.
Steps to take if an individual is experiencing anaphylaxis:
· Call 911 immediately.
· Locate an epinephrine auto injector (if theyhave one with them) and help them use it, if needed.
· Try to keep them calm.
· Help them lie on their back and raise their feetabout 12 inches off the ground.
· Cover them with a blanket.
· Turn them on their side if they are vomiting orbleeding.
· Make sure their clothing is loose so they canbreathe easier.
Epinephrine can greatly reduce the effects of a severeallergic reaction and help keep someone stable until they can be seen by amedical professional. So, the sooner epinephrine can be administered, thebetter. Avoid giving them oral medications, asking them to drink fluids or lifttheir head, especially if they are having difficulty breathing.
After experiencing anaphylaxis for the first time, aphysician can prescribe an emergency epinephrine injector. It’s a good idea toteach your close family members, friends or coworkers how to use the injectorin case of an emergency at home, work or in public.
If you believe you have a food allergy or intolerance butare unsure which foods are causing problems, your doctor may recommend anelimination diet.
Elimination diets consist of removing specific foods oringredients from your diet over the course of a few weeks to pinpoint what iscausing your intolerance or allergy.
Elimination diets should always besupervised by your doctor and are not recommend for someone who has had asevere allergic reaction or anaphylactic episode.
Your doctor will start by having you stop eating thesuspicious food that may be causing the problem while ensuring that you arestill getting the appropriate nutrients you need. You’ll need to read foodlabels carefully and ask any restaurants you visit how foods are prepared. Keepa food diary as you go to write down everything you eat.
After you have eliminated foods from your diet, your doctorwill have you slowly add them back into your diet one at a time. This processcan help you determine exactly which foods are causing the abnormal reaction. Noteany symptoms you experience in your diary as you add foods back.
Next, you’ll eliminate the problem foods again one at atime. Your list of potential food suspects should be smaller with the goal ofseeing if eliminating each food makes symptoms clear up or go away permanently.
Allergies can be a nuisance, but they can also be extremelydangerous. Our allergy specialists and immunologists at INTEGRIS take allergiesvery seriously and can get you the help you need. Learn more about allergiesand immunology and find an INTEGRIS facility near you today.
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Food allergies occur when the immune system identifies a certain food as harmful, which leads the immune system to produce antibodies, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), that remain on the alert for that food. When you are exposed to the food again, these antibodies attack the “invader” by releasing immune system chemicals such as histamine, which cause allergy symptoms.
Mild to moderate symptoms of food allergies may include a tingling or itching sensation in the mouth, hives or skin rashes, swelling of the tongue, throat or lips, and digestive issues.
Food allergies in some people can cause a serious and life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which is characterized by throat constriction and trouble breathing, a rapid pulse, or a loss of consciousness.
Your doctor can administer tests to identify possible food allergies, prescribe emergency medications to treat anaphylaxis, and help set up a long-term plan to avoid foods that cause your allergic reactions.
Food allergy causes
Food allergies are caused by your immune system identifying a usually harmless food as a dangerous invader.
When your immune system makes this identification, it leads cells to release antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which remain on the alert for that food.
When you are exposed to the food again, these antibodies attack the “invader” by releasing immune system chemicals such as histamine, which cause allergy symptoms.
Common food allergies in adults are triggered by:
- Shellfish, including lobster, crab and shrimp
- Tree nuts, including pecans and walnuts
Common food allergies in children are triggered by:
- Tree nuts
- Cow’s milk
It is not totally known, however, what causes some people to develop food allergies, while others do not.
Food allergy risk factors
You may be more ly to have a food allergy if you:
- Have a family history of asthma, eczema, or general allergies
- Have an existing food allergy
- Are a child, toddler, or infant
- Have asthma
You may be more ly to experience anaphylaxis from a food allergy if you:
- Have asthma
- Are a child or teenager
- Do not have hives or other allergic reaction skin symptoms
- Delay using your prescribed epinephrine after being exposed to your existing allergen trigger
Food allergy symptoms
Symptoms of a food allergy usually develop within several minutes or an hour after consuming the food item.
Symptoms may include:
- A tingling or itching sensation in the mouth
- Itching, eczema, or hives on the skin
- Face, tongue, lips or throat swelling
- Swollen airways, nasal congestion, wheezing, and trouble breathing
- Digestive problems such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
Some food allergies can cause symptoms that are irritating but relatively mild. Other allergies can cause a severe and life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- A tightening of the airways or a swollen throat that restricts breathing
- Shock, and a dramatic blood pressure drop
- A rapid pulse
- Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or losing consciousness
People experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis must seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
Food allergy diagnosis
When diagnosing a possible food allergy, your doctor may:
- Review your physical symptoms, to get an idea of what foods may be causing problems
- Ask about any family history of allergies to specific foods
- Administer a skin test. In a skin test, a doctor or nurse will prick your skin to expose you to small amounts of the proteins found in various potential allergens. If you are allergic, you will ly develop a raised bump, or hive, at the injection site on your skin.
- Perform a blood test to measure your immune system response to various foods
- Recommend an elimination diet, which involves removing possible food allergens from your diet for several weeks. After a few weeks, you will reincorporate the foods into your diet one at a time, to track which food may be responsible for symptoms.
Food allergy treatment
While there is no cure for allergies, a combination of medications and strategic planning to avoid your allergen triggers can prevent allergic reactions or regulate symptoms if reactions do occur.
Taking over-the-counter antihistamines can relieve symptoms of minor allergic reactions to foods.
For severe food allergies, you may need to carry an emergency epinephrine auto-injector such as EpiPen or Adrenaclick, in the event of an allergic reaction.
The following measures can also help avoid allergic reactions to foods:
- Carefully read food and drink labels to make sure you always know what you are consuming
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating your allergy in the event of a reaction that compromises your ability to communicate
- Alert your server at restaurants of your food allergies
- Plan meals before leaving the house, and pack food for yourself if attending an event that may not have allergen-free food
Consult your doctor to establish a comprehensive plan for avoiding your triggers and preventing allergic reactions.
When to seek care
Call your doctor if you have experienced symptoms of a food allergy shortly after eating.
If you are experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
Patients will ly need to consult a doctor who specializes in allergies and immunology, to manage long-term symptoms and prevent anaphylaxis.