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What Are My Treatment Options for Food Allergies?

Are My Treatment Options for Food Allergies?

More than a quarter of kids and adults in the United States have an allergy, and food allergies certainly make up for a significant percentage of the overall issue — nearly 6% of the population has a food allergy.

Dealing with food allergies can be challenging but certainly possible with the proper management and treatment tools. As experts in allergies, the team here at Advanced ENT & Allergy, under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Queen, pulled together some sound strategies for dealing with food allergies.

Food allergy basics

Anytime you have an allergy, your body reacts to the substance (allergen) as if it threatens your health. In effect, an allergy boils down to a malfunction of your immune system. This malfunction can lead to symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening.

While someone can be allergic to almost anything, when it comes to food allergies, these 9 foods account for 90% of the overall problem:

  1. Eggs
  2. Peanuts
  3. Dairy
  4. Tree nuts
  5. Fish
  6. Shellfish
  7. Wheat 
  8. Soy
  9. Sesame

As we’ve alluded to, allergic reactions can vary greatly. For example, you might break into hives if you eat dairy, or you might vomit after eating shellfish. With more severe reactions, you can have trouble breathing or go into anaphylaxis, which is an extreme allergic response in which your body goes into shock and you can’t breathe.

Given the extremes when it comes to food allergies, having us properly diagnose the extent of your allergies is critical.

Solutions for food allergies

The first thing to understand about allergies is that there are no cures or magic bullets. Once we perform allergy testing to determine your food allergies and how you react, we can devise a good management plan moving forward.

At the top of the list is one simple practice — avoidance. When you have a food allergy, you need to steer clear of the food, which is easier for some than others. For example, avoiding sesame is a bit easier than dairy or eggs.

Unfortunately, many of these food types can hide in foods — peanuts, eggs, and dairy are in many everyday foods.

This means you have to get very good at reading labels and looking at ingredients. Manufacturers and restaurants are getting better at letting customers know about common food allergens, so look for labels or signs that read nut-free or dairy-free.

In addition to avoiding allergens, another good management technique is to ensure you have what you need on hand if you eat something that leads to a reaction. Whether it’s an antihistamine for milder reactions or an epinephrine pen for anaphylaxis, we can ensure your food allergy toolkit has what you need.

If you want more guidance on managing your food allergy, please contact our office in Newport News, Virginia, to schedule an appointment.

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