A food allergy is an allergic type immune response to food caused by an allergic antibody called IgE. You can develop a food allergy at any time, but it is more common in people with a personal history or family history of other allergic problems.

It is seen most frequently in children with atopic dermatitis (eczema), and it can be one of the aggravating factors in this condition.

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Food Allergy Symptoms

Oral itch

Hives

Swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat.

Sometimes a wheeze and cough, especially in infants and children.

Sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Please note: food “intolerance,” which is not true food allergy, also may give gastrointestinal symptoms.

Common food allergens include:

Proteins in milk, peanut, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

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Food Allergy Diagnosis

For an accurate diagnosis, we use allergy skin tests. Various blood tests may miss true allergies by up to 25-30%, and in some
cases they may overdiagnose food allergy. Skin testing for food allergies could help guide trials of specific food avoidance.

A food diary may be helpful. Treatment is primarily strict avoidance by careful reading of food labels. An EpiPen should be
available at all times for people with potentially life-threatening reactions.