Food allergies can make you just as miserable as those associated with pollen-producing weeds or your friend’s fluffy cat. But it can be difficult to identify which foods you should avoid, especially since so many favorite recipes contain multiple ingredients. At AIR Care, Dr. Richard Herrscher is an allergy specialist and immunologist who can identify what’s causing your symptoms and design a successful treatment plan that keeps you feeling well and supports your long-term health. Call one of the offices in Dallas or Plano, Texas, to make your appointment, or book your visit online.
Unlike an intolerance or sensitivity that may cause mild stomach upset -- such as drinking milk when you’re lactose intolerant -- a food allergy involves a response from your immune system that can make you very ill.
An allergic response to food occurs when your immune system mistakes a substance you’ve ingested for a harmful “invader” and releases histamine to protect you from what it sees as a toxin. Histamine is a powerful substance that causes the symptoms you experience during an allergic reaction.
Food allergies most often cause symptoms in your mouth, throat, and stomach. But they can also cause the skin rashes and other symptoms more commonly associated with pollen and contact allergies.
Common food allergy symptoms include:
These symptoms can occur immediately after eating the offending food or take several hours to appear.
More severe symptoms of a food allergy tend to occur quickly and can result in a life-threatening emergency (anaphylaxis), including:
It’s important to note that you may be more susceptible to anaphylaxis if you also have asthma. Treatment for this severe reaction includes an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline), which you can carry with you, and follow-up care at an emergency room.
The most common foods that trigger allergic reactions include:
The first step in treatment is identifying which foods are engaging your immune system. Dr. Herrscher accomplishes this with a detailed discussion of your symptoms, a thorough review of your medical history, as well as allergy testing.
Allergy testing accurately identifies the foods you should avoid and is accomplished in the convenience of the AIR Care offices. It also helps Dr. Herrscher determine whether you have a food intolerance or an actual allergy. From there, he creates a treatment plan that may include avoiding certain foods, taking oral medications, or undergoing immunotherapy that’s designed to bring long-term relief from your allergies.