Food allergies affect 32 million Americans, including one in every 13 children, and they all face the potential of having a life-threatening allergic reaction. At DFW Asthma & Allergy Center, Aasia Ghazi, MD, has extensive experience identifying the food responsible for your allergy and developing a plan to keep it out of your diet. If you suspect you or your child has food allergies, don't wait to schedule an appointment. Call the office in Plano, Texas, or use the online booking feature today so that you can have life-saving medication on hand in case of an emergency.
You develop a food allergy when your immune system mistakenly identifies a food protein as something that's harmful to your body. Your immune system then makes antibodies that trigger an allergic response every time you consume foods, beverages, or medicines containing that protein.
You can develop an allergy to any protein, but most food allergies are caused by:
Many food allergies begin in childhood, but they can also appear for the first time in adults. Though your child may outgrow some food allergies, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish tend to stay with them throughout adulthood.
Food allergies cause symptoms such as:
Symptoms typically appear in a few minutes to two hours after consuming the protein.
If you have a food allergy, you're at risk of having a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, and shellfish most often cause an anaphylactic reaction, but it can occur due to any food allergy.
Anaphylaxis causes rapid symptoms such as:
If you have an anaphylactic reaction, you need an immediate injection of epinephrine and emergency treatment to prevent shock and death.
Your DFW Asthma & Allergy Center provider begins by performing allergy testing to identify the exact proteins responsible for your food allergy. You may need a skin prick, intradermal, or blood test. Some people may have an oral food challenge.
Then you need to eliminate all sources of the protein from your diet. Your provider helps you learn which products to avoid and prescribes self-injecting epinephrine that can counteract an anaphylactic reaction.
In some cases, your provider may recommend oral immunotherapy, which they do under close supervision in the office. The treatment involves eating the protein, beginning with a very small dose, and gradually increasing the amount. Exposure to the protein slowly desensitizes your immune system so you don't have such severe allergic reactions.
If you or your child has symptoms of a food allergy, call DFW Asthma & Allergy Center or book an appointment online today.