For most of us, a peanut is a tasty nut and also tastes great in the soft form of peanut butter. However, for others, a peanut is a potentially life-threatening food if accidentally consumed.
The cause of a food allergy could be any food, including eggs, milk, or shellfish. The worst-case scenario for a person with a food allergy may be anything from a rash to death, so it’s important for you to take notice of certain symptoms if you have an unusual reaction to something.
If you do suffer a reaction, it is imperative to be tested to find out whether it is a food allergy, food intolerance, food sensitivity, or something else altogether. You can indeed develop an allergy later in life, and you can even grow out of an allergy you had when you were young.
Let’s talk about what an allergist can do for you insofar as determining whether you have an allergic reaction to a food, which foods cause the allergy or other reaction, and what you can do about it.
Food Allergies Causing Itching, Hives, or Eczema
Histamine is a compound that your body releases in response to an allergen. Due to histamine, fluid can accumulate under the skin and cause swelling, redness, and itching.
Allergic Reaction Causing Tingling and Itching in Your Mouth
The histamine may also cause your mouth to tingle and itch, both inside and outside of the mouth. You might notice that the itching and tingling feeling are in your throat and on your tongue as well.
Digestive Symptoms of a Food Allergy
If you consume a food you’re allergic to, you might get an upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea, and you may possibly vomit.
Food Allergy Causing Swelling
A food that you have an allergy to may cause swelling in your tongue, lips, face, and/or throat. The swelling may also arise in other parts of your body, and all of this swelling stems from the histamine reaction.
Fainting, Lightheadedness, or Dizziness
In some cases, a food allergy can cause your blood pressure to become too low. When this happens, you may feel faint, dizzy, or lightheaded.
Wheezing, Difficulty Breathing, and Nasal Congestion
You may have nasal congestion, trouble breathing, or wheezing when you have an allergic reaction to a food. Here again, this is due to your body producing histamine in response to the food.
Anaphylaxis and Constricted Airways
The most severe reaction of a food allergy is anaphylaxis, in which your airways become tight and possibly constricted. Your throat may swell, and you may feel like you have a lump in your throat that interferes with your breathing. You could have a severe drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse, dizziness, lightheadedness, and faint.
This reaction always requires emergency medical attention.
Treatment for Food Allergies
Your allergist may perform allergy testing on your arm, and the doctor may also recommend that you participate in an elimination diet to help determine whether you have a food allergy. In addition to medicine to relieve your immediate symptoms, the allergist may recommend immunotherapy.
In immunotherapy, you are exposed to the allergen in small doses that increase over time. Your immune system recognizes the allergen and becomes used to it, so you become desensitized to the allergen and no longer have the reaction – or you have a greatly reduced reaction.
Allergists in Greater Chicago
Here at Oak Brook Allergists, we have convenient locations in Downers Grove, Naperville, Plainfield, and Elmhurst to address your allergies as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our allergists focus less on medicine and more on prevention. We want to help you find a long-term solution to prevent future allergic reactions.
Schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff today at (630) 574-0460, or fill out our convenient online form. We look forward to helping you stay on top of your allergies once and for all.