- Food Allergies: Where They Hide
- Take the Quiz on Allergies
- Preparing for Severe Allergies at School
- Celiac Disease (Celiac Sprue) FAQs
- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Symptoms and Signs
- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Allergy Shots
- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Common Foods
- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Testing and Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Food Allergy - Treatment
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
- 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?
- What types of health care specialists diagnose and treat food allergies?
- How do health care professionals diagnose food allergies? What tests do health specialists use to diagnose food allergies?
- What is the treatment for a food allergy?
- Are allergy shots effective in preventing or decreasing food allergy?
- What are complications of food allergies?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for food allergy?
- What research is being done on food allergies?
Quick GuideThe Most Common Food Allergies for Kids and Adults
What is the treatment for a food allergy?
Dietary avoidance: Avoiding the offending allergen in the diet is the primary treatment of food allergy. Once a food to which the patient is sensitive has been identified, the food must be removed from the diet. To do this, affected people need to read lengthy, detailed lists of ingredients on the label for each food they consider eating. Many allergy-producing foods such as peanuts, eggs, and milk appear in foods that are not ordinarily associated with them. For example, peanuts often are used as protein supplements, eggs are found in some salad dressings, and milk is in bakery products. The FDA requires that the ingredients in a food be listed on its label, and this label is a critical resource for anyone with food allergies. People can avoid most of the foods to which they are sensitive if they carefully read the labels on foods and, when in restaurants, avoid ordering foods that might contain ingredients to which they are allergic.
Treating an anaphylactic reaction: People with severe food allergies must be prepared to treat an anaphylactic reaction. Education about the signs of a reaction and how to manage the reaction is essential. Even those who know a lot about their own allergies can either make an error or be served food that does not comply with their instructions. To protect themselves, people who have had anaphylactic reactions to a food should wear medical alert bracelets or necklaces stating that they have a food allergy and that they are subject to severe reactions. These individuals also always should carry a syringe of adrenaline (epinephrine [EpiPen, Auvi-Q]), obtained by prescription from their doctors; people with severe food allergies should be prepared to self-administer epinephrine if they think they are developing an allergic reaction. They then should immediately seek medical help by either calling the rescue squad or having themselves transported to an emergency room.
Treating other symptoms of food allergy: Several medications are available for treating the other symptoms of food allergy. For example, antihistamines can relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, hives, sneezing, and a runny nose. Bronchodilators can relieve the symptoms of asthma. These medications are taken after a person inadvertently has ingested a food to which he is allergic. They are not effective, however, in preventing an allergic reaction when taken prior to eating the food. In fact, no medication in any form is available to reliably prevent an allergic reaction to a certain food before eating that food.