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Food Allergies

What are food allergies?

A food allergy is a specific adverse immune response that occurs following exposure to a specific food. The amount of food that can trigger symptoms can be very small. Food allergy reactions can be life-threatening if not recognized or treated properly.

Many food allergies are first diagnosed in young children, although they may also appear for the first time in older children and adults. The prevalence of food allergies is increasing world-wide. Food allergies are more common among patients with other allergic diseases such as eczema or asthma.

What are the symptoms?

  • Abdominal pain, cramping and nausea
  • Severe indigestion, diarrhea, flatulence, and vomiting
  • Hives or Rashes
  • Baby colic, flushing, itching or tingling lips
  • Anaphylaxis symptoms

What are the causes of food allergic reactions?

The most common causes of food allergic reactions include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat

Babies may experience sensitivity to their formula, presenting as rash, eczema, vomiting, or fussiness or crying after a feeding.

Being allergic to a food also may mean that you or your child may react to a similar protein found in something else due to ‘cross-reactivity.’ Your allergist can advise you of possible cross-reactivities pertinent to your particular condition.

What are treatments for food allergies?

Treatment involves avoidance and developing an emergency plan in case of accidental exposure. Research here at Children's Health and elsewhere are addressing the mechanisms of food allergy, and novel treatment of food allergy.