Comprehensive Allergy and Asthma Associates
Cathy Green, MD
Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialist located in Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA
Food allergies can develop at any age, but 45% of all food allergies make a surprise first appearance in adults. All food allergies can be serious, with unpredictable reactions that are mild one time, and severe the next. At Comprehensive Allergy and Asthma Associates in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, Cathy Green, MD, determines if you have a food allergy and the precise food that’s responsible, then helps you develop a plan for keeping that food out of your diet. To learn if you have a food allergy, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Food Allergies Q & A
What causes food allergies?
A food allergy occurs when your immune system identifies a harmless protein as a danger to your health. After the protein is tagged as dangerous, your immune system triggers an allergic reaction every time the protein enters your body.
Though you can be allergic to any type of food, eight categories represent 90% of all food allergies:
- Tree nuts
Milk represents the most common food allergy in infants and children, with eggs the second-most common allergen. By comparison, about 60% of shellfish allergies first occur in adults.
What symptoms develop if I have food allergies?
Symptoms appear quickly when you have a food allergy, usually within two hours of eating. Very rarely, symptoms are delayed 4-6 hours.
Food allergies cause one or more of the following:
- Stomach pain
- Itchy mouth or ears
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Skin rash or itchy skin
It’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Green the first time you experience symptoms or as soon as you suspect you have a food allergy. You should have allergy testing to determine your food allergen so you can prevent anaphylaxis.
What is an anaphylactic reaction?
Food allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of consuming the food responsible for your allergies.
Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, making it essential to know if you have a food allergy and to be prepared to immediately treat a severe reaction with epinephrine. Dr. Green prescribes a self-injectable epinephrine pen for patients who are at risk for anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis occurs when you have an allergic response that affects several areas of your body at the same time. When this happens, you develop symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling faint or confused
- Swollen lips, tongue, or throat
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
When these symptoms appear, you need to give yourself a shot of epinephrine and call 911.
How do you treat food allergies?
After performing allergy testing, Dr. Green helps you develop a plan to avoid the food responsible for your allergy. While immunotherapy for peanuts may soon be available, the only way to treat a food allergy is by eliminating the food from your diet.
If you have questions or suspect you have a food allergy, call Comprehensive Allergy and Asthma Associates or schedule an appointment online.