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- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Describe Your Experience
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- Food allergy facts
- What is a food allergy?
- What causes allergic reactions to food?
- What are food allergy symptoms and signs?
- What are food allergy risk factors?
- Do infants and children have problems with food allergy?
- What are the most common food allergies?
- What is cross-reactivity?
- What is oral allergy syndrome?
- What is exercise-induced food allergy?
- What conditions have mistakenly been attributed to food allergy?
- What conditions mimic food allergy?
- How is food allergy diagnosed? What tests are used to diagnose food allergies?
- What is the treatment for a food allergy?
- Are allergy shots effective in preventing or decreasing food allergy?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for food allergy?
Quick GuideAllergy Pictures Slideshow: Common Food Allergy Triggers & Where They Hide
Are allergy shots effective in preventing or decreasing food allergy?
Allergy shots, a form of treatment known as immunotherapy, involve injecting small quantities of substances to which the patient is allergic. The shots are given regularly for a long time with the aim of desensitizing the patient or getting the patient to tolerate the allergen without developing symptoms. This type of therapy is effective in controlling symptoms of allergies related to hay fever, indoor allergens, and insect stings. Researchers, however, have not yet proven that these shots can prevent any allergic reactions to food.
What is the prognosis (outlook) for food allergy?
As described above, avoidance of the trigger food is the primary treatment for food allergy. The outlook is excellent for those who are able to avoid consuming the allergen and who remain prepared to treat a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis. There are no long-term complications associated with food allergy, other than the risk for severe reactions.
Food allergy is caused by immune reactions to foods, sometimes in individuals or families predisposed to allergies. A number of foods, especially shellfish, milk, eggs, peanuts, and fruit can cause allergic reactions (notably hives, asthma, abdominal symptoms, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis) in adults or children. When a food allergy is suspected, a medical evaluation is the key to proper management.
It is important to distinguish a true food allergy from other abnormal responses to food, that is, food intolerances, which actually are far more common than food allergy. Once the diagnosis of food allergy is made (primarily by the medical history) and the allergen is identified (usually by skin tests), the treatment basically is to avoid the offending food. People with food allergies should work with their physicians and become knowledgeable about allergies and how they are diagnosed and treated.
Sicherer, S. H., et al. “Food Allergies.” Medscape. 27 Jul 2015.