Although many people have bad reactions to certain foods, a true food allergy — a reaction triggered by the immune system — isn’t as common as you might think. However, the number of people who have a food allergy is growing. About 2 percent of adults and 6 percent of children have a true food allergy. Far more people have food intolerance, unpleasant symptoms triggered by food. Unlike a true food allergy though, food intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system.
The most common foods that comprise the majority of food allergy include: egg, milk, wheat, soy, peanut, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Fortunately, most allergies to egg, milk, wheat, and soy occur in childhood and are outgrown. These foods make up approximately 85-90% of true food allergy; although any food is capable of producing an allergic response.
As with any suspect allergic reaction a detailed history of symptoms and exposures is taken. If the symptom or reaction in question would seem to be potentially allergic than skin testing or in the case of severe reactions a blood test allergy screen will be advised.
If a suspect food is identified discussion with the doctor and his staff will assist you in avoidance techniques and finding food alternatives, since at this time the only proven way to deal with a food allergy is avoidance. Allergy injections for food allergens and “allergy drops” for food allergy are not effective.
Additionally, for some food reactions, such as anaphylaxis, instruction in use of emergency Epinephrine, will be given and we would assist you with school and/or daycare notification. Additionally, information about local and national food support groups will be given.