Read about some of the most frequently asked questions about food allergies.
What causes food allergies?
Your immune system has a job to kill and fight off germs in your body to keep you from getting sick. The human body has food proteins, and a food allergy occurs when your body attacks the food proteins because it thinks it’s a virus or bacteria.
How do I know if I have food allergies?
Symptoms of food allergies include:
- naseua or vomiting
- redness of the skin
- itchy mouth
- stomach pain
- weird feeling in mouth or throat
- runny nose
- chest pain
- shortness of breath or wheezing
- having issues swallowing
- losing consciousness
- low blood pressure (fainting, confusion)
- swollen lips
How do people develop food allergies?
Doctors have not figured out exactly why food allergies occur, but genetic history plays a big role. Other risks include:
- age - Younger children are more likely to develop allergies (even though they can develop at any age).
- family - If a parent or sibling has food allergies, you are also more likely to have them.
- other allergies - People with allergies are likely to have more than one.
- other conditions - Read more about this below.
Am I prone to other conditions when I have food allergies?
Yes. Some of these conditions may include asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. If someone has all of these in addition to food allergies, the conditions can be categorized as the Atopic March. Researchers do not know if these are related to each other, or if they just occur in overactive immune systems.
Will I ever outgrow my food allergies?
Outgrowing food allergies happens all the time. There are lots of factors that come in play such as:
- The person is more likely to outgrow the allergy if they are young, only have a mild to moderate reaction to the food, and are allergic to only one food.
- Children allergic to dairy, eggs, and soy are more likely to outgrow their allergies compared to children allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish.
Your allergist may also offer oral immunotherapy for food allergies. The immunotherapy is when the allergist feeds you the allergen in small doses so your body gets used to it and is eventually able to tolerate it. There are many resources online that offer more information on this subject.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a very severe allergic reaction which could potentially cause death if epinephrine is not taken. The reaction is life-threatening because the airways narrow which causes difficulty in breathing. If you are anaphylactic to any foods, you should always be prepared by having epinephrine on you!