If you are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, or other foods, you could have a severe allergic reaction if you accidentally eat one of these substances. Your allergy can limit your ability to travel, enjoy meals with friends, and take part in other social activities. At the Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, Oregon, we can use a specialized technique called food allergy desensitization to reduce the severity of your allergies.
Learn About Food Allergy Desensitization
Food allergy desensitization is a specialized technique that is used to reduce the severity of food allergies. During this treatment, we will give you very small amounts of the foods that are triggering your allergies. Over time, we will gradually increase the amount of food that is included in your doses. This treatment will help you become used to these substances.
After you have completed your food allergy desensitization treatment, you will be less likely to experience a severe anaphylactic reaction if you are accidentally exposed to peanuts or other triggering substances. Reducing your risk of developing severe allergic symptoms will relieve your anxiety and worries. You will feel more confident about going to work, attending school, or participating in social events with your family members and friends.
What Are the Symptoms of a Food Allergy?
Since the severity of food allergies will vary, you can experience a variety of different symptoms after you consume a possible allergen. If your allergy is severe, you might have difficulty breathing after you consume certain foods. You could also develop a rash, vomit, or have stomach cramps, and your face may begin to swell. If you develop these problems after you eat a specific food, you should seek medical help right away.
If your food allergies are relatively minor, you might have a headache or become flushed after you eat certain foods. In addition, you could develop mild stomach cramps or other digestive problems.
Why Do I Experience Allergic Symptoms After I Eat Certain Foods?
Your immune system’s reaction to certain foods will cause you to develop allergic symptoms. When your immune system is functioning properly, it will create antibodies when you develop an infection. If you suffer from food allergies, your immune system will mistakenly produce antibodies when you consume certain foods.
These antibodies will cause you to develop breathing issues, digestive problems, and other negative symptoms. Although the cause of this reaction is not fully understood, allergies tend to run in families. If your parents or other relatives have food allergies, you will be more likely to develop similar problems when you are a child or an adult.
What Foods Are Likely to Cause an Allergic Reaction?
Food allergies are a very common issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4% of adults have allergies to specific foods. In addition, about 4 to 6% of children have this problem. Although people can become allergic to a wide range of foods, there are a number of foods that are especially likely to cause allergic symptoms.
It’s very common to develop an allergy to dairy. If you have this type of allergy, you are likely to experience problems after you consume milk, cheese, cream, butter, or yogurt. In addition, you will probably be allergic to dairy products that include milk from sheep, goats, and cows.
Since dairy is included in a wide variety of substances, this allergy can be very difficult to manage. For example, you might not realize that diary is sometimes found in spice packets, bread, caramel, and many other foods.
It’s very common to develop a peanut allergy when you are a child. Since peanut oil is included in many different foods, you may struggle to avoid accidentally consuming this ingredient. For example, many fast-food restaurants cook french fries in peanut oil.
Cashews, pecans, pistachios, and other types of tree nuts frequently cause allergic reactions. It’s common to be allergic to several different nuts in this category.
If you have a shellfish allergy, you will develop an allergic reaction after you consume crab, shrimp, or other types of shellfish. You will usually experience your first allergic reaction to shellfish when you are an adult.
Other Food Allergies
In addition to the foods described above, you might become allergic to wheat, sesame seeds, soy, or eggs. You could also have a severe reaction after you eat fish. If you develop one of these allergies as a child, you might outgrow your allergy when you are an adult. However, it’s also common to experience this problem for the rest of your life.
How Can I Diagnose My Allergies?
Learning to identify the foods and other substances that trigger your allergic symptoms is an essential part of your treatment. At the Asthma Allergy Centre, we can use a variety of methods to diagnose your allergies.
A Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test is commonly used to diagnose food allergies. This method can also be used to test for allergies to dust mites, pollen, mold, and pets. During this type of test, we will put histamine and other gentle substances onto a small area of your skin.
After your skin is ready, we will carefully administer a very small amount of possible allergens onto this area. If these substances are triggering your allergic symptoms, you are likely to react to this test within about 15 minutes.
A Patch Test
It’s common to have allergies to certain types of food dye. We can use patches to test your reaction to food dye and other potential allergens. You should wear your patches for about two days. While you are wearing your patches, you will not be able to bathe, swim, or engage in rigorous exercise.
After you have worn your patches for about two days, you will need to come back to our office. We will remove your patches and assess your reaction to this test. In addition to diagnosing allergies to food dyes, this method can tell us whether you are allergic to latex, medications, and many other substances. In fact, we can use a patch test to analyze your reaction to 30 different substances at one time.
A Blood Test
If you frequently experience rashes, breakouts, and other skin issues, you may prefer to receive a blood test. If you have experienced very severe allergic reactions, we may also advise you to receive this type of allergy test. During your appointment, we will carefully draw your blood. It will usually take a few days for us to analyze your blood sample and obtain the results of your allergy test.
What Should I Expect During the Testing Process?
Although the testing process is quick and straightforward, you should be prepared to follow some instructions before your appointment.
Preparing for Your Test
If you take medications to manage your allergies, we may instruct you to avoid these substances before your appointment. Taking these medications can mask your symptoms and prevent us from diagnosing your issues. In addition, you might need to temporarily stop taking antidepressants or asthma medication.
To achieve favorable results during an allergy skin test, your skin will need to be healthy and free of irritation. To achieve this goal, you should avoid exposing your skin to very strong sunlight. In addition, you should not use strong skincare products or get a potentially irritating beauty treatment during the weeks before your appointment.
A Comfortable Process
It’s normal to feel a bit apprehensive when you learn that we may use potential allergens to diagnose your food allergies. However, there’s no need for you to feel nervous about your allergy tests. We will use very small amounts of potential allergens during your skin tests. This technique will allow us to test your reaction without causing you to develop severe allergy symptoms.
Receiving Your Tests
Our skin prick and blood tests will take a very short time to administer. After your test is complete, you will be able to return to your home or place of work. Although there’s no need for you to spend time at home recovering from this gentle process, you should avoid intense sunlight for a couple of days after you receive a skin prick test.
If you are using the patch test to diagnose your issues, you will be able to go about your life while you are wearing your patches. You won’t have any downtime after we remove your patches and examine your skin.
Can I Use Other Methods to Manage My Food Allergies?
You should not feel upset or demoralized if your tests show that you are allergic to certain foods. In addition to receiving food allergy desensitization treatments, you can use several other techniques to manage your allergies.
Adjust Your Diet
You can manage your food allergies by avoiding substances that cause you to experience allergic symptoms. To achieve this goal, you will need to read the ingredient lists on packaged foods and ask your waiter questions when you go out to eat.
For example, you will need to check packaged food for ingredients like cream, butter, and casein if you have an allergy to milk. If you are allergic to peanuts, you will need to ask your server if this ingredient is included in sauces and other dishes when you are dining at a restaurant.
Obtain an EpiPen
An EpiPen can be used to temporarily manage your symptoms if you develop a severe allergic reaction. If you accidentally consume a portion of food that triggers your allergies, you can use this device to temporarily reduce your swelling issues, breathing problems, and other symptoms.
Even if you try to avoid consuming triggering foods, you could be accidentally exposed to an ingredient that causes you to develop problems. As a result, you should take your EpiPen with you whenever you leave your home.
If your food allergies are fairly mild, you might be able to use medication to relieve your symptoms. If you eat triggering food by accident, you may decide to improve your cramps and other digestive issues by taking medication.
Reverse Your Food Allergies
You shouldn’t let allergies prevent you from traveling, attending social events, and participating in other activities with your friends. Receiving food allergy desensitization treatments will decrease the severity of your allergies. Over time, this treatment will reduce your risk of experiencing an extreme allergic reaction. To learn whether you are eligible for this useful treatment, contact us at the Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, Oregon.