An estimated 32 million Americans deal with a food allergy. Some individuals outgrow their allergy once they become an adult, while other allergies are lifelong. Though it’s more common for food allergies to develop in childhood years, allergies can also start at any point in an individual’s life, even later into adulthood. So, whether you suspect your child may be having issues, or if a food you normally eat is now giving you a problem years later, here’s what you can do about it.
How Food Allergies Work
A food allergy is caused when your immune system has a negative reaction to proteins that are otherwise harmless. Symptoms of an allergic reaction will range from mild to life-threatening, including:
- Mouth tingling/ itching
- Hives and itching
- Trouble breathing/ wheezing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or fainting
More serious symptoms include anaphylaxis in which your airways constrict, blood pressure drops, pulse becomes rapid and you feel lightheaded or lose consciousness. Seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one experience these symptoms.
How to Find the Food Allergy Trigger
If you’re in the beginning stages of suspecting a food allergy, and your symptoms are mild enough, there are some helpful ways to start preliminary deducing the food allergen culprit.
You may not know in the moment what’s triggering the reaction, sot a food log or diary is a great way to pinpoint problem foods. Start by writing down everything you eat, including each ingredient, for a few weeks or months and mark anytime you have a reaction.
According to Foodallergy.org, the most common food allergens include:
- Peanut/ Tree nuts
- Fish and Crustacean Shellfish
Be sure to keep these in mind while tracking your food.
ELIMINATE COMMON FOOD ALLERGENs
While there is no cure for food allergies, the best treatment is to eliminate food from your diet that is triggering the reaction. Go back and look at your food diary entries and see if there are any consistencies. Did you flare up when you came across peanut butter or peanut-based products? Once the food allergen is identified, cut it out of your diet and see if the reactions stop or persists.
SEE A DOCTOR
It’s important to note that even if you have mild symptoms today, you could have a more severe reaction tomorrow. So, no matter the symptom severity, it’s always a good idea to go see a doctor. From there, your doctor may refer you to see an allergist.
At Community Access Network, our healthcare providers are a great first stop in identifying food allergens. Not only will we provide quality care, but we will guide you to the right resources in the community if further treatment is needed. Schedule an appointment today!