A food allergy can be scary, but fortunately, there are quality testing and treatment methods available to identify food allergens, diminish symptoms, and even prevent future allergic reactions. At Integrative Immunity Health System, PC, in Edina, Minnesota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Bismarck, North Dakota, allergy and immunology specialist Benoit Tano, MD, offers the latest advanced testing and treatment methods to get your allergies under control. Make life a little easier by getting the right medical care for your problematic food allergies. Call Integrative Immunity Health System, PC, or book an appointment online today.
A food allergy occurs when your immune system triggers an abnormal response to a food such as shellfish, peanuts, or wheat.
Allergic reactions to food can vary in severity from mild to severe and can cause a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Food allergy symptoms include:
You might also experience diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
To diagnose a food allergy, Dr. Tano might use a detailed personal medical and family history, elimination diet, and skin and blood testing.
Skin patch testing is also called a skin prick or scratch test, and it can check for as many as 40 different substances at once. The skin test is usually performed on the upper back or forearm. With a skin test, Dr. Tano uses fine needles (lancets) to gently prick the allergen extract into your skin’s surface.
Dr. Tano can recommend various treatment methods for food allergies. He recommends avoiding the food, and he might also suggest certain medications and other ways to improve your health, immune system, and digestive functioning.
When you have food allergies, you should also be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. Wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet that identifies your food allergy and carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine.
In some cases, you might be able to receive oral immunotherapy. In this process, you’re given progressively larger doses of the food over time under medical supervision to desensitize you and treat your allergy.
An oral food challenge (OFC) is an effective diagnostic test for food allergies. The OFC must be conducted by an experienced allergist. Dr. Tano feeds you the suspect food in measured doses, starting with very small amounts that are unlikely to trigger symptoms. With each dose, Dr. Tano watches you for a period of time to check for any signs of a reaction.
If you don’t have any significant symptoms, Dr. Tano gradually gives you larger doses. If you show signs of a reaction, the food challenge stops. Most reactions with OFCs are mild, such as hives or flushing. Severe reactions are uncommon, and Dr. Tano can give you medications to relieve symptoms if needed.
If you have no symptoms by the end of the challenge, Dr. Tano rules out your food allergy. If the test confirms you do have a food allergy, Dr. Tano can discuss the best ways to avoid the food to protect your health.
In some cases, Dr. Tano might recommend an oral food challenge test to determine if you or your child has outgrown an allergy.
Don’t let a food allergy cause you worry when testing and solutions are available. Call Integrative Immunity Health System, PC, or request an appointment online today.