Allergy and immunology

Tracking and treating food allergies

If food allergies seem more common these days, there’s good reason.

More than 50 million Americans have an allergy of some kind, experts say. Food allergies affect four to six percent of children and four percent of adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Food allergy symptoms are most common in babies and children, but they can appear at any age. You can even develop an allergy to foods you have eaten for years with no problems.

The body’s immune system keeps you healthy by fighting off infections and other dangers to good health. A food allergy reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to a food or a substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response.

While allergies tend to run in families, it is impossible to predict whether a child will inherit a parent’s food allergy or whether siblings will have a similar condition. Some research does suggest that the younger siblings of a child with a peanut allergy will also be allergic to peanuts.

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe. Just because an initial reaction causes few problems doesn’t mean that all reactions will be similar; a food that triggered only mild symptoms on one occasion may cause more severe symptoms at another time.

Although any food can cause an adverse reaction, eight types of food account for about 90 percent of all reactions 90 percent of all reactions:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy

Certain seeds, including sesame and mustard seeds (the main ingredient in the condiment mustard), also are common food allergy triggers and considered a major allergen in some countries.

The allergists at Signature Medical Group can diagnose and treat symptoms of food allergies in adults and children.

If you or your child are experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of an allergic reaction, it’s not too late to fight off these symptoms.  Our allergists at Signature Medical Group can work with you to relieve your symptoms and prevent future allergies.  Give us a call today or request an appointment online.