Food Allergies

Egg Allergy

Overview of an Egg Allergy

An egg allergy is very common in children, and most outgrow the allergy by the age of 16. Symptoms can be mild to fatal and usually occur within minute of ingesting the egg protein. Egg proteins can be found in a variety of foods and even cosmetics and vaccinations.

  • The most common allergy-causing food in children is eggs and is typically outgrown.
  • Side effects occur within minutes or hours of ingesting eggs or foods that contain eggs.
  • Symptoms include: skin rash, hives, nasal congestion, and vomiting or other digestive problems. Anaphylaxis rarely occurs when consuming eggs.
  • Factors such as atopic dermatitis, family history and age play a role in determining if you will have an egg allergy.
  • There are many hidden sources of egg in food, so be sure to double check food labels and even vaccinations.

Symptoms of an Egg Allergy

Each person may experience a different symptom. Reaction to ingesting eggs can typically appear within minutes. Hives are often the first sign of an allergic reaction to eggs, and look like red swollen patches on the face or other parts of the body. Other mild symptoms may include nasal congestion, coughing or tightness in the chest, cramps, nausea or vomiting.

In some cases, anaphylaxis may occur and can include difficulty breathing, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis must be treated immediately with a dose of epinephrine.

Causes of an Egg Allergy

An egg allergy occurs when someone’s body mistakes the egg protein to be harmful. When the body detects a harmful substance, it will release histamine and other chemicals. Some of allergic reactions may be life-threatening. Most people that are allergic to eggs are allergic to the protein found in the egg yolks, but eggs should be avoided altogether as they are difficult to separate.
Risk Factors of an Egg Allergy

Anyone can develop an egg allergy, but some people may be at a higher risk. Eggs are the most common allergy-causing good in children, and most children will outgrow this allergy by the age of 16 years old. Certain skin conditions may put you at a higher risk as well, including eczema. If a parent has a food allergy, then the child is more likely to develop food allergies too. A family history of allergies in general, specifically seasonal allergies can also raise your child’s risk of an egg allergy.

Complications of an Egg Allergy

A major complication for those with an egg allergy is anaphylaxis. Symptoms of this include: wheezing, shortness of breath, weak pulse, a drop in blood pressure, skin rash, nausea, or loss of consciousness. In the case of anaphylaxis, call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. Administering a dose of epinephrine may be imperative too. Follow the allergy action plan that you and your physician have created.
Prevention of an Egg Allergy

There are many hidden sources of egg in food, cosmetics, and even vaccinations. If a known egg allergy is present, be sure to check food labels and to speak with your physician before receiving any shots. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction to eggs is to avoid consuming them or coming in contact with them. Egg protein may be listed under other names such as: vitellin, globulin, lecithin, simplesse, lysozyme, or livetin. Other words may begin with “ova” or “ovo”, which is the prefix for egg in Latin. Many types of food and drinks may include egg unexpectedly, including: mayonnaise, salad dressing, meatloaf and meatballs, marshmallows, etc. If you are eating at a restaurant and are not clear about the egg contamination, let your server know and ask any questions that may be necessary.

Diagnosis of an Egg Allergy

To begin diagnosis, your physician will ask you a serious of questions to see history and family history. The physician may also require you to keep a food log. One of the following tests may be administered too. The skin prick test is when the skin is pricked and small amounts of the egg proteins are placed on the skin. If the bump becomes raised, then test is positive. A blood test can check the blood stream for certain antibodies that may cause a response to the eggs. The food challenge is when you will start by ingesting small amounts of egg and each bite will contain a little more and the physician will wait to watch for a reaction. If no reaction occurs in these tests, then it is presumed that no allergy is present. All tests should be done in an allergist’s office in case of emergency.

Treatment of an Egg Allergy

If there has been a diagnosis of an egg allergy, it is important to know how to treat an allergic reaction and how to identify egg that may be hidden in products. For mild reactions, you can use an antihistamine to treat symptoms of the allergy. For more severe reactions, a dose of epinephrine may need to be administered. This medication will help to increase blood pressure, improve breathing, stimulate heart and reduce overall swelling. After the dose is administered, proceed to the emergency room. Without treatment, this can be fatal. Create an allergy action plan with your physician so that you know what to do in case of emergency.

Summary of an Egg Allergy

An egg allergy is the number one cause of food-induced allergic reactions for children. This allergy is most common in children and the allergy is usually outgrown by the age of 16. Symptoms can range from mild to fatal. The physician may ask for you to keep a food diary and a close eye on reactions. Diagnosis can be done through a skin test, a blood test or a food challenge test. All tests should be done in your allergist’s office. Treatment is best done through avoidance of the egg proteins. Egg proteins can be hidden in a variety of products from other foods, drinks, cosmetics and vaccinations. Be sure to check on the labels before ingesting. Foods such as mayonnaise, marshmallows, and even meatloaf may contain egg proteins. Before receiving any vaccinations, speak with your physician about your allergy to guarantee there are no egg proteins found in the vaccine.

Fish – Shellfish Allergy

Overview of a Shellfish Allergy

A fish or shellfish allergy is very common and can be extremely life threatening. If you are allergic to fish, it does not necessarily mean that you will also be allergic to shellfish, and vice versa. Symptoms can range from mild to life threatening. In some instances, it is best to avoid places with these items altogether.

  • In adults, shellfish is one of the more common lifelong food allergies. Children are not typically allergic to shellfish, but the allergy tends to develop later in life.
  • Fish and shellfish are not related, meaning that you may be allergic to one and not the other. Also, you may be allergic to one type of fish but not others. Your allergist can help you narrow it down. On the other hand, a shellfish allergy usually means you should avoid them all.
  • Even the smallest amount of fish or shellfish can cause life-threatening reactions. The chance of cross-contamination at restaurants is very high and should be taken seriously.
  • Salmon, tuna and halibut are the most common fish that people are allergic to.

Symptoms of a Shellfish Allergy

An allergic reaction to fish and shellfish will generally occur within minutes or an hour of ingestion. Minor symptoms may include: hives, swelling of lips, face, tongue and throat, wheezing, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness and fainting. Allergies also have the potential to be life threatening. If an anaphylactic reaction occurs, a dose of epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room is necessary.

Causes of a Shellfish Allergy

A fish or shellfish allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to the protein that is present in fish or shellfish. The second time that you come into contact with the allergen, your body may produce a histamine that causes the allergic reaction.

Risk Factors of a Shellfish Allergy

If food allergies are common in the family, you are at a greater risk to have an allergy to fish or shellfish. An allergy to fish or shellfish is most common in adults, but can occur in children. In adults, women are more susceptible to the allergy, while in young children, boys are more susceptible. If you have asthma or a history of food-induced anaphylaxis, you are at a higher risk for a life-threatening reaction.

Complications of a Shellfish Allergy

You may experience extreme reactions if you have asthma or a history of food- induced anaphylaxis. If you experience anaphylaxis, a dose of epinephrine must be administered. Speak with your physician about an action plan.

Prevention of a Shellfish Allergy

The best way to treat a fish or shellfish allergy is to avoid it altogether. It is important to ensure that there is no cross-contamination if you are eating in a restaurant, as even the smallest exposure can lead to extreme symptoms. If you are unsure, inform your server. Read labels carefully, as it can often be found in items such as seafood flavorings. In extreme instances, you may need to avoid places where fish and shellfish are prepared or processed, as some people can have a reaction to just touching or smelling it.

Diagnosis of a Shellfish Allergy

Diagnosing a fish or shellfish allergy can be complicated because symptoms vary in each person. Once an allergy is suspected, schedule an appointment with your allergist. The allergist will then begin to ask you a series of questions about what you experienced. To ensure a proper diagnosis, the allergist may proceed to administer a blood test or a skin prick test.

Treatment of a Shellfish Allergy

Once you have a proper diagnosis, creating a treatment plan is the next step. If you are highly allergic, it is important to stay away from fish or shellfish completely. Be sure to check ingredients and verify with whoever is preparing the food that there has not been any cross-contamination. If your allergist deems it necessary, then keeping an epinephrine dose on you at all time may become necessary in emergency situations.

Summary of a Shellfish Allergy

An allergy to fish or shellfish is very common, but the two are not related. If you have a shellfish allergy, it does not typically mean that you also have a fish allergy. Symptoms may include nausea, dizziness or in extreme cases may also lead to anaphylaxis. Your physician will be able to diagnose you after asking a series of questions, and to verify the proper diagnosis, may also administer a skin test or blood test. The best treatment is to avoid the allergen completely.

Milk Allergy

Overview of a Milk Allergy

A milk allergy is common in children, and can happen with not only cow’s milk, but also sheep, goats, buffalo, etc. An allergic reaction to milk can be mild to severe. Avoiding milk altogether is the best form of treatment.

  • The allergy to cow milk is common in young children – with nearly 2.5% of children 3 and younger experiencing an allergy to milk.
  • Symptoms can range from mild to severe – from hives to anaphylaxis.
  • If you are allergic to milk, then it may be best to avoid milk from other animals too. Goat milk and cow milk have very similar proteins that may cause the same allergic reaction.
  • Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are not the same thing. Lactose intolerance only affects the digestive tract while a milk allergy attacks your whole immune system.
  • Be sure to check labels on creams, ointments, cosmetics, and medicine to ensure they do not contain cow milk.

Symptoms of a Milk Allergy

Each person will react to a milk allergy in a different way. Most reactions will be mild and can include hives, wheezing, itching and tingling around the mouth, swelling of lips, tongue or throat, or vomiting. Some other symptoms that you may experience after a period of time include: diarrhea, abdominal cramps, colic in babies, watery eyes and runny nose.

Causes of a Milk Allergy

An allergy to milk occurs when your immune system believes that the protein in milk is harmful. There are two main proteins in the milk that may cause the allergic reaction. Casein is the solid part of the milk that curdles, and why is the liquid part that remains after the milk curdles. An allergic reaction may be to just one protein, but it could be to both. These are difficult to avoid, as they are often found in many processed foods.

Risk Factors of a Milk Allergy

You may be at a higher risk for a milk allergy if you have other types of allergies. Since an allergy to milk is most often found in children, the milk allergy may be the first to develop. Age is a risk factor in the milk allergy, as this allergy is most commonly found in children. If a food allergy tends to run in the family, then you are at a higher risk for a milk allergy. Lastly, if a child has atopic dermatitis, they are much more likely to develop a food allergy.

Complications of a Milk Allergy

One of the main complications is when children develop a milk allergy; they are much more likely to also develop other health problems. Other health problems may include allergies to other foods and hay fever, which is a reaction to pet dander, grass pollen, dust mites, etc.

Prevention of a Milk Allergy

The only way to prevent a food allergy is to avoid the food that causes a reaction. Some processed foods may have the ingredients hidden in them, so check labels carefully. Ask questions to the server if you are eating out.

Diagnosis of a Milk Allergy

To begin the diagnosis, your allergist will ask a series of questions about your diet and the reactions that occur. To confirm the diagnosis, the allergist may also recommend a skin test or a blood test. If these tests are not able to confirm an allergy, then the allergist will administer an oral challenge. During this oral challenge, your allergist will give you different types of food to watch for a reaction.

Treatment of a Milk Allergy

Avoiding milk and milk proteins is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction. In mild symptoms, an antihistamine may be recommended. However, in a serious allergic reaction, it is recommended to inject a dose of epinephrine and go straight to the emergency room.

Summary of a Milk Allergy

A milk allergy is very common in young children. Some complications of having a milk allergy include developing other allergies to foods, or having other health problems. Symptoms of this allergic reaction can range from mild to severe. Avoiding milk is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction, but that is sometimes harder than it seems because it is disguised in many processed foods. In an emergency situation, a dose of epinephrine may be necessary.

Peanut – Nut Allergy

Overview of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

A nut allergy is one of the most common causes of a severe allergic reaction and can oftentimes be life-threatening. Children with nut allergies are increasing. Even if the reaction begins small, consult an allergist because of the risk for a more serious reaction.

  • The smallest amount of nut, whether ingested or inhaled, may cause a huge allergic reaction.
  • If you are allergic to one type of nut, it is probable that you are also allergic to other types.
  • Only about 9% of children who have an allergy to tree nuts will outgrow them and their younger siblings are at a higher risk of allergy too.
  • Peanuts are the most common cause of allergy attacks and is typically life threatening.
  • Symptoms include: runny nose, skin reactions, itching around mouth and throat, and shortness of breath.

Symptoms of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

Minutes after exposure to nuts can begin the first side effects. Some side effects may include a runny nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, tightening of the throat, hives, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or vomiting. Severe reactions may occur. In a severe reaction, the airways will constrict making it difficult to breathe, the blood pressure will drop and you may feel dizzy.

Causes of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

A nut allergy occurs when your body reacts to the nuts as if it were harmful. Exposure to nuts can be done through direct contact, which means directly eating nuts or nut-containing foods, or even just touching the food. Cross-contact exposure occurs when the food you ingest has been in contact with nuts during processing or handling. Inhalation may occur if you inhale something such as peanut flour or peanut cooking spray.

Risk Factors of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

There are a variety of risk factors that can lead to an increased risk of a nut allergy. These include age, as a nut allergy is very common in children. If you were allergic to nuts as a child, and felt as though you had outgrown it, it may occur again into adulthood. If you are allergic to other foods, then you will be at an increased risk for a nut allergy. Typically, people with atopic dermatitis, or eczema, can also have a nut allergy. If your family member has a nut allergy, or a food allergy in general, you are at a higher risk for a nut allergy too.

Complications of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

A severe allergic reaction is common in people with nut allergies. It is so important to avoid the allergen altogether as best as possible. In nut allergies, it may be very difficult as they can be found in many processed foods and also can be easily cross-contaminated. In a severe allergic reaction, a dose of epinephrine will be necessary. Have an allergy action plan ready.

Prevention of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

Prevention is key in avoiding this allergy. Check your labels before purchasing food. If you are eating a restaurant, be sure your server knows about your allergy in an effort to eliminate any cross-contamination. You can even request that your server change their gloves to non-contaminated gloves.

Diagnosis of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

Your allergist will begin by asking about your symptoms and medical history. The allergist may ask you to keep a food diary to watch for any foods that trigger symptoms. The elimination diet is typically the next step, and your allergist will have you eliminate a food group from your diet, and will slowly work them back in to see which ones trigger a reaction. A skin test will allow the allergist to confirm the diagnosis, as a small amount of food will be placed on the skin and pricked with a needle. If these do not work, a blood test can be administered to determine how your immune system responds to particular foods.

Treatment of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

The best treatment for a nut allergy is to avoid the allergen, however, that may not always be possible. In the case of a mild reaction, you will have to treat the side effects. For example, take an antihistamine to relieve any congestion or other side effects. In extreme cases, you will need to administer a dose of epinephrine. Speak with your allergist and formulate an allergy action plan to properly treat your allergy.

Summary of a Peanut – Nut Allergy

A nut allergy is the most common allergy that is found in children. Oftentimes, children will outgrow their allergy. Preventing an allergic reaction to nuts can prove to be difficult, as there are many cases of cross-contamination. Your allergist may diagnose through a few different ways including: physical examination, food diary, food elimination, skin test or blood test.

Wheat Allergy

Overview of a Wheat Allergy

Wheat proteins can be found in a lot of our foods, some are noticeable but others, such as soy sauce, are not so apparent. There are four classes of proteins that may cause an allergy: albumin, globulin, gliadin, and gluten.

  • An allergic reaction to wheat can occur through ingesting or even just inhaling wheat flour.
  • Avoiding wheat is the best treatment for a wheat allergy, which may prove to be difficult.
  • A wheat allergy and celiac disease is not the same thing, but are oftentimes confused.
  • Side effects include: swelling/itching around the mouth and throat, hives, nasal congestion, headache, difficulty breathing, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anaphylaxis.
  • You are at high risk for a wheat allergy if there is a family history of food allergies. The other factor is the age, because wheat allergies are more common in small children.

Symptoms of a Wheat Allergy

Symptoms usually appear within minutes of ingesting wheat. These symptoms include: swelling of the mouth, hives, nasal congestion, diarrhea, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, headache or anaphylaxis. In anaphylaxis, symptoms can be life threatening and can include swelling of the throat, chest pain, severe difficulty breathing, dizziness, fainting, blue skin color, trouble swallowing. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, dial 911.

Causes of a Wheat Allergy

There are four wheat proteins that may cause an allergic reaction: albumin, globulin, gliadin, and gluten. The cause of a wheat allergy is when your immune system believes the protein in wheat to be harmful.

Risk Factors of a Wheat Allergy

A few factors can put you at a higher risk for a wheat allergy. If there is a family history of wheat or other food allergies, the risk is increased. A wheat allergy is very common in young children, but most people will outgrow their allergy by the age of 16 years old.

Complications of a Wheat Allergy

Anaphylaxis is a serious complication that may occur after ingesting a protein in wheat. In this case, the airways will close up and it will be difficult to breathe. A dose of epinephrine must be administered and a trip to the emergency room.
Prevention of a Wheat Allergy

The best prevention is to avoid the allergen altogether. In wheat, it is crucial to check labels before eating an item. If you are eating out, you must speak with the cook and ensure that there is no wheat in your food and that it will not be cross-contaminated.

Diagnosis of a Wheat Allergy

To begin the diagnosis, your physician will ask a series of questions in regards to your symptoms and history. To confirm a proper diagnosis, a variety of tests may be administered. A skin test places the protein on the skin and then the skin is pricked. If the bump becomes red and itchy, the allergy to the wheat protein is present. A blood test will show your allergist how the allergy-causing antibodies are reacting. Your physician may also request that you keep a food diary of what you are ingesting and if symptoms develop. In order to specify which certain proteins trigger the allergic reaction, an elimination diet may be necessary. During the elimination diet, your physician will choose which foods you cannot ingest and when to reintroduce them. In a food challenge, you will be in your physician’s office, and the physician will give you doses of the suspected food. You will ingest them slowly until a reaction occurs or it is suspected that no allergy is present.

Treatment of a Wheat Allergy

The best treatment for a wheat allergy is avoiding the food altogether, but in the case of accidental ingestion, an antihistamine may be administered. This antihistamine will treat minor symptoms of the wheat allergy. In the case of a serious wheat allergy, a dose of epinephrine may be administered. A trip to the emergency room should follow.

Summary of a Wheat Allergy

A wheat allergy can occur if one of four proteins is present. An allergist will be able to diagnose the allergy through one of the following tests: food diary, skin test, blood test, food elimination, or a food challenge. The best treatment is to avoid the allergen completely.

Soy Allergy

Overview of a Soy Allergy

Soy is a very common food allergy, and often begins during infancy. A test is necessary to confirm the soy allergy, as there are many foods such as meats, baked goods, and cereals that may contain soy.

  • Soy is a common ingredient in formulas for children, and it is also one of the more common food allergens for children.
  • Most children will outgrow their soy allergy.
  • If you have a soy allergy, it is crucial to avoid soy altogether as side effects can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of a Soy Allergy

Typically, a soy allergy is not very serious, but can be severely uncomfortable. Symptoms will occur within minutes of ingesting soy, and can include symptoms such as hives, redness of skin, tingling around the mouth, swelling of the lips, wheezing, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Rarely is anaphylaxis a problem, except for in people with asthma or have other severe allergies. Anaphylaxis symptoms are extreme and can include difficulty breathing, shock, and dizziness.

Causes of a Soy Allergy

An allergy to soy is triggered by an immune system reaction when the body identifies the protein as harmful. During your first interaction with soy, the allergy may not appear. During the second interaction, the body will release histamines that will trigger a reaction.

Risk Factors of a Soy Allergy

There are three main factors that will put you at a higher risk for a soy allergy. If you have a family history of soy allergies or various food allergies, if you are a young child or if you have other food allergies you are at a higher risk for developing a soy allergy.

Complications of a Soy Allergy

One of the greatest complications that can occur with a soy allergy is having a severe reaction after ingestion. In the case that you or someone around you has anaphylaxis symptoms, then a dose of epinephrine must be administered followed by a trip to the emergency room.

Prevention of a Soy Allergy

The only way to prevent a food allergy is to avoid the food and any food that may contain the food. Soy is a common ingredient in many foods, so you will have to check labels carefully and ask questions when you are at a restaurant. For children with a soy allergy, it is best to breast feed if possible, as avoiding soy-based or milk-based formula is the best option.

Diagnosis of a Soy Allergy

Your allergist will begin with a physical exam and ask about your symptoms when an allergic reaction occurs. To confirm the diagnosis, the allergist may recommend a skin test or a blood test. In a skin test, you will be exposed to the allergen on your skin and then your allergist will prick your skin. If you are allergic to soy, then a raised bump will appear. During a blood test, a sample of blood will be taken and the allergist can measure what your immune system’s response to the allergen is.

Treatment of a Soy Allergy

The best treatment for a soy allergy is to avoid the allergen completely. Ensure that there is no soy in your food, as it can be identified as a variety of different names. If you are eating in a restaurant, then ask your servers if there is soy in the menu items that you wish to order. If an allergic reaction does occur, then an antihistamine may be administered in order to reduce the symptoms. This will be able to control itching, minor breathing problems, etc. If you have a severe allergic reaction, seek help immediately.

Summary of a Soy Allergy

A soy allergy is very common in children and most will outgrow it by adult hood. Symptoms are typically minor and can appear as hives, minor trouble breathing, and tingling around the mouth. In rare cases a severe allergic reaction will occur. To properly diagnose the allergy, your allergist will begin with a physical exam and will ensure a proper diagnosis through a skin test or a blood test. The best way to treat a soy allergy is to avoid the allergen completely.