Food Allergies Specialist

Suburban Allergy Consultants

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialists located in Narberth, Havertown, West Chester, West Grove, & Coatesville, PA

Knowing what you should and shouldn’t eat is essential to staying healthy, and this is especially true when it comes to food allergies. The team of allergy, asthma, and immunology experts at Suburban Allergy Consultants can help you identify your food allergies and help improve your quality of life. To get started, schedule a visit at the Narberth, Havertown, West Chester, West Grove, or Coatesville, Pennsylvania, office. You can also book your visit with Corinna Bowser MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, and Andrew Murphy MD, FAAAAI, by calling the office nearest you or using the online tool.

Food Allergies Q & A

What are food allergies?

Having a food allergy means that your immune system mistakenly perceives a particular food to be harmful to your body, even though it might not be, which triggers an immune system response. 

Many people confuse food allergies with food intolerance. Food intolerance is bothersome and uncomfortable, but it’s ultimately a less serious condition that doesn’t involve your immune system.

What are the symptoms of food allergies?

Allergic reactions to food can vary widely in type and severity. For some people, a food allergy produces symptoms that are simply disagreeable, while for others, exposure to a food can be life-threatening. 

Some of the symptoms of food allergies include:

  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Hives and itching on your body
  • Tingling and itching in your mouth

Symptoms of food allergies tend to present themselves somewhere between a few minutes and a couple of hours after eating the particular food. In some cases, however, the reaction might not present itself until days later, as is the case with some food allergies that produce eczema. This delay in the reaction can make it difficult to properly diagnose the food allergy in question.

For some people, food allergies can trigger anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can ultimately be life-threatening. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid pulse
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Tight or constricted airways
  • Shock

If you or someone you know is experiencing anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately or take them for emergency care. 

What food commonly causes allergic reactions?

Some of the more common allergy-inducing food include:

  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts, like walnuts and pecans
  • Shellfish, like crab, lobster, and shrimp
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Soy

If you’re experiencing trouble with any of these foods, schedule a visit with Suburban Allergy Consultants. The team can perform a series of tests to narrow down your particular food allergy so that you can avoid that food in the future.

How are food allergies diagnosed?

The team at Suburban Allergy Consultants identifies food allergies with skin testing. After taking a detailed medical history and performing a physical exam, your doctor introduces your potential food allergen into your system by scratching a small amount of extract gel onto your skin. After 15 minutes, they analyze how your skin has reacted to the extract gel, which can help them determine whether or not you’re allergic to it. Your doctor might also perform a blood test, which tests your blood for certain antibodies that your allergic reaction might produce.

The team can also make a diagnosis by administering a food challenge, which is the gold standard in food allergy testing. This is performed in the Suburban Allergy Consultants offices and involves ingesting small amounts of the suspected allergen food and observing your symptoms. Your doctor might also try food avoidance, which involves eliminating a particular food from your diet and observing any changes in your allergic reaction.

Get started with your food allergy tests today by calling Suburban Allergy Consultants or requesting a visit online.