A food allergy is a reaction by the body to the proteins in certain foods, such as nuts, eggs, dairy, shellfish, or soy. These reactions usually occurs shortly after the food is eaten and can range from mild to severe, life-threatening reactions. Symptoms usually involve one of the following four organ systems: skin, respiratory (breathing), circulation or gastrointestinal. Skin findings include hives or itchy rashes. Breathing changes include wheezing, throat tightness, or sneezing. Circulation problems include pale skin, light-headedness, or loss of consciousness. GI symptoms include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you believe your child may have a food allergy, you should seek medical attention.
The evaluation for food allergies involves different types of testing, most commonly skin testing ("scratch tests") or blood testing ("RAST tests")
Many children outgrow their food allergies; this occurs most commonly with eggs, wheat, dairy and soy. People are less likely to outgrow nut and shellfish allergies.
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is an excellent resource for those families affected by food allergies, offering education (e.g. recipe alternatives), awareness and advocacy information, among other things. To be directed to their website, click here.
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Silver Spring Pediatrics
Drs. DeConcini, Schooler, Zang, Wang, Yee & Marcus