A food Allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. More than 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies. Each year in the US, it is estimated that anaphylaxis (a life threatening reaction with symptoms of chest tightness, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness or cardiac arrest), caused by food result in 100 to 200 deaths.
Symptoms of food allergy include hives (urticaria); angioedema (swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, and/or tongue); difficulty swallowing; hoarseness of voice; nasal congestion; itching of the mouth, throat, eyes or skin; and anaphylaxis.
The eight foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts (walnut, cashew, pecan, almond etc.), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
Our clinic provides a comprehensive evaluation for adults and children to detect food allergies. Skin testing, also known as “scratch testing” or “prick testing” is the most common method of testing for food allergies, however for those who cannot undergo skin testing the RAST blood test may be helpful. Avoidance is the treatment of choice and can be achieved as a result of the evaluation.