Did you know that people may be allergic to any one of a number of foods? It's true, and this applies to both children and adults. If you experience odd symptoms such as itching, upset stomach, trouble breathing or swallowing, see Dr. Ludwig Edward Khoury of Allergy Care in Utica and Watertown, NY. He knows food allergies and can help you deal with them.
Why do people have allergies?
Allergies are the immune system's over-reaction to ordinary substances touched, inhaled or ingested. The body produces histamines, a natural chemical which, in excessive amounts, causes symptoms such as:
- Stomach ache
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
- Hives or other rashes
When someone contacts an allergen (something he or she is overly sensitive to), the body is on high alert. Allergy symptoms may be mild, moderate, severe or life-threatening (anaphylactic). The severest reactions require immediate medical attention.
What are common allergens?
Common allergens are dust, mold, animal dander, pollen, tobacco and wood smoke, latex, insect bites, drugs (such as penicillin) and more. Food allergies are wide-ranging and may include:
Unfortunately, people often struggle with identifying what foods cause their symptoms because of something called cross-reactivity. For instance, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that if you are allergic to certain kinds of plant pollen, you also may react to fruits and vegetables such as bananas, celery and carrots.
What you can do about food allergies
The first line of defense is avoidance. If you know you develop symptoms after ingesting, say, peanut butter, do not eat it. Be sure to avoid all sources of peanuts, paying strict attention to food labels.
Also, see Dr. Khoury at Allergy Care. He'll do a physical examination, ask you about your symptoms (and when and how often they occur), and order tests as needed. Allergy testing helps your doctor know how best to control your symptoms.
Allergy testing may take the form of skin prick tests, which introduce a tiny amount of an allergen under the skin, challenge tests (the allergen is ingested) and lab work. Lab work is called RAST testing which looks for the presence of certain antibodies in the blood.
Finally, your allergist will devise a treatment plan to include medications, lifestyle changes and more to decrease your allergic reactions. This plan will tell what you should do in the event of a severe, or anaphylactic, reaction.
Find out more
Lead a healthier, happier life. Control those food allergies with expert care and advice from Dr. Ludwig Edward Khoury at Allergy Care. Call today for a consultation. In Watertown, phone (315) 782-6200, and in Utica, call (315) 624-7911.