Diagnosing and treating food allergies - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

WNCN News

Diagnosing and treating food allergies

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

One out of every three people says they have a food allergy or they modify the family diet for a family member who has one. Dr. Kevin Campbell talks about how common food allergies are and how to diagnose and treat them.

Five percent of children have clinically proven allergic reactions to foods. In teens and adults, food allergies occur in about 4 percent of the total population. 

According to Food Allergy Research & Education, there are more than 200,000 emergency room visits a year for food allergy reactions.

According to a nationwide study, one food that affects nearly seven million Americans is fish.

But experts say there is a difference between food allergies and food intolerance. A food allergy is an immune system reaction to a protein in the food. The food triggers the immune system to produce a protein called IgE and releases cells called mast cells. These result in the release of substance that causes symptoms of the allergy. Food intolerance is far more common can involve GI upset and is not nearly as serious. 

In adults, the foods that most often trigger allergic reactions include fish, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts, such as walnuts. Problem foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and wheat.

Symptoms of food allergies:

  • Itching or swelling in your mouth
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
  • Hives or eczema
  • Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
  • Drop in blood pressure 

How to diagnose a food allergy 

Your health care provider may use a detailed history, elimination diet, and skin and blood tests to diagnose a food allergy.

The allergist will take a thorough medical history, followed by a physical examination. Patients are asked about the foods they eat, the frequency, severity and nature of symptoms, and the amount of time between eating a food and any reaction.

Allergy skin tests may determine which foods, if any, trigger allergic symptoms. In skin testing, a small amount of extract made from the food is placed on the back or arm. If a raised bump or small hive develops within 20 minutes, it indicates a possible allergy. If it does not develop, the test is negative. It is uncommon for someone with a negative skin test to have an IgE-mediated food allergy.

Treatment

When you have food allergies you must be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, and carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine. People with food allergies should always carry an auto-injectable epinephrine device to be used in the event of an anaphylactic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include difficulty breathing, dizziness or loss of consciousness. If you have any of these symptoms in the context of eating, use the epinephrine auto-injector and immediately call 911.

But experts say the best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the food you are allergic to.  After you and your health care provider have identified the foods to which you are sensitive, you must remove them from your diet.

 

  • Accident causing lane closures on Interstate 81-North

    UPDATE: Interstate 81 lane reopens after Botetourt Crash

    UPDATE: Interstate 81 lane reopens after Botetourt Crash

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:49:42 GMT
    Two lanes are still closed but traffic is now passing on the right shoulder.
    Two lanes are still closed but traffic is now passing on the right shoulder.
  • UPDATE: Crash on Interstate 81 in Montgomery Co.

    UPDATE: Crash on Interstate 81 in Montgomery Co.

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:09 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:09:04 GMT
    All lanes on I-81 southbound are closed due to a tractor trailer crash near mile marker 120
    All lanes on I-81 southbound are closed due to a tractor trailer crash near mile marker 120
  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • UNC: Former athletes can return to finish degrees

    UNC: Former athletes can return to finish degrees

    Thursday, July 24 2014 1:04 PM EDT2014-07-24 17:04:36 GMT
    UNC Chancellor Carol Folt. (File photo)UNC Chancellor Carol Folt. (File photo)
    University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program Thursday that will allow former UNC athletes to return and finish their uncompleted degrees.
    University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt announced a new program Thursday that will allow former UNC athletes to return and finish their uncompleted degrees.
  • Indian teen has 232 'teeth' removed from jaw

    Indian teen has 232 'teeth' removed from jaw

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:23 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:23:39 GMT
    After complaining of pain in his jaw, an Indian teen and his family discovered that he had a severe dental condition - and surgeons pulled 232 "teeth" from his jaw. 
    After complaining of pain in his jaw, an Indian teen and his family discovered that he had a severe dental condition - and surgeons pulled 232 "teeth" from his jaw. 
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.