Food allergies frequently arise in childhood, but don’t be surprised if you develop the problem as an adult. In fact, nearly 45% of all allergies start when you get older. Roula Daher, MD, at Allergy Associates Dearborn offers comprehensive allergy services, including testing for food allergies and helping you find ways to eliminate problem foods from your diet. If you develop signs of a food allergy, call the office in Dearborn, Michigan, or schedule an appointment online.
Food allergies begin when your immune system identifies a harmless protein as a danger to your body. Every time you consume anything containing that protein, your immune system responds by releasing chemicals that cause an allergic reaction.
Food allergies can appear at any age, from childhood through adulthood. You can also become allergic to any type of food. However, eight food categories account for 90% of all allergies:
Milk is the most common allergen in infants and children, with symptoms typically appearing before their first birthday. Eggs are the second most common allergen in this age group. About 60% of shellfish allergies first occur in adults.
Symptoms typically appear quickly, sometimes in a few minutes, but usually within two hours of eating. Only rarely are symptoms delayed, appearing about 4-6 hours after eating.
Food allergies cause one or more of the following symptoms:
The first time you experience a food allergy, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daher for allergy testing and to learn about your potential for a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis occurs within minutes of consuming your food allergen and can be life-threatening, so you need to be prepared.
Anaphylaxis develops when your body is overwhelmed because multiple allergic reactions affect several areas of your body at the same time. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, feeling faint, and swollen lips, tongue, or throat. You may also have difficulty swallowing or chest pain.
If you experience these symptoms, call 911 and use an epinephrine pen.
Dr. Daher performs allergy testing to identify your specific allergens, prescribes an epinephrine pen if needed, and helps you devise a plan to keep targeted foods out of your diet.
In the future, Dr. Daher may be able to offer immunotherapy for certain food allergies like peanuts. Currently, however, there’s only one way to treat a food allergy, and that’s to eliminate the protein from your diet. You’ll also need to check the label on everything you consume to see if it carries an allergy warning. Some foods that you think are safe may contain hidden allergens.
To learn more about food allergies or to schedule allergy testing, use the online booking feature or call Allergy Associates Dearborn.