Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food
protein. Ingestion of the food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals,
including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction. The
symptoms may be mild or severe. A food allergy can be fatal.
Facts About Food Allergy
· It is estimated that as many as 15 million Americans suffer from food
· Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergic reactions. They are
milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
Diagnosis and Treatment
· A skin prick test or blood test is commonly used to help determine if an
allergy exists. These results are combined with other information, such as a
history of symptoms and the result of a food challenge to determine if a food
· Strict avoidance of the allergy causing food is the only way to avoid a
· Reading ingredient labels for all foods is the key to avoiding a reaction.
· Epinephrine, also called adrenaline is used to control a severe reaction.
· Tingling in the mouth
· Swelling of the tongue and throat
· Difficult breathing
· Vomiting, cramps or diarrhea
· Loss of consciousness or death
· Studies are inconclusive about whether food allergies can be prevented.
Parents should learn the early signs of allergic disease such as eczema, hives,
repeated diarrhea and or vomiting in reaction to formula.
-Information from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network
For more information, visit www.healthcare.utah.edu.