Discovering and Treating Food Allergies

by bcbsm

| 2 min read

When it comes to allergies, most people think of external triggers like pollen, perfume, or smoke. But what about food?
Food is a serious threat that, if ignored, could have fatal consequences. A food allergy occurs when the immune system has an abnormal reaction to a specific type of protein. The most common sources are:
  • Peanuts
  • Milk
  • Soybeans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Wheat
  • Tree nuts
  • Shellfish
These foods and their byproducts are responsible for 90% of said allergy cases. How do you know if you’re allergic to a certain food?

Tracking symptoms

Talking to your primary care physician to find out if seeing a specialist is a good start. They may suggest running tests and going on an elimination diet to find out what is giving your body problems.
Keeping a diary of symptoms can also be helpful. Track what you eat and what symptoms - if any - accompany those meals. A log like that can be extremely helpful when visiting with a specialist, such as an allergist.
All potential allergens should be examined by a medical professional. An allergist can use one or multiple tests to determine possible triggers. Three common methods are skin prick tests, oral food challenges, and blood tests.
Depending on the allergen that your physician or specialist is looking for, blood tests can determine a lot, like if further invasive testing is needed.

Food allergies in children

Confirming a diagnosis for young children, however, can be difficult, particularly for infants. Because of this, new parents may struggle with introducing new foods. Since the child can’t clearly express themselves, it’s hard to gauge their reaction. That's why it's best to give it some time before introducing new foods to your baby in rapid succession. It usually takes a child three to five days to show visible signs of an allergy, which typically includes eczema or a rash around the mouth.
Overall, make conscious choices and don’t try too much, too soon. If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy:
Photo credit: Getty Images

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Mar 21, 2019 at 7:33pm

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