Food allergy is treated by avoiding the foods that trigger the reaction. Once you and your health care provider have identified the food(s)to which you are sensitive, you must remove them from your diet. To do this, you must read the detailed ingredient lists on each food you are considering eating.
Many allergy-producing foods such as peanuts, eggs, and milk, appear in foods one normally would not associate them with. Peanuts, for example, are often used as a protein source, and eggs are used in some salad dressings.
FDA requires ingredients in a packaged food to appear on its label. You can avoid most of the things to which you are sensitive if you read food labels carefully and avoid restaurant-prepared foods that might have ingredients to which you are allergic.
If you are highly allergic, even the tiniest amounts of a food allergen (for example, a small portion of a peanut kernel) can prompt an allergic reaction.
If you have severe food allergies, you must be prepared to treat unintentional exposure. Even people who know a lot about what they are sensitive to occasionally make a mistake. To protect yourself if you have had allergic reactions to a food, you should
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating that you have a food allergy and are subject to severe reactions
- Carry a syringe of adrenaline (epinephrine),obtained by prescription from your health care provider, and be prepared to give it to yourself if you think you are getting a food allergic reaction.
- Seek medical help immediately by either calling the rescue squad or by getting transported to an emergency room.
Anaphylactic allergic reactions can be fatal even when they start off with mild symptoms such as a tingling in the mouth and throat or GI discomfort.
Schools and day care centers must have plans in place to address any food allergy emergency.
Parents and caregivers should take special care with children and learn how to
- Protect children from foods to which they are allergic
- Manage children if they eat a food to which they are allergic
- Give children epinephrine
There are several medicines that you can take to relieve food allergy symptoms that are not part of an anaphylactic reaction. These include
- Antihistamines to relieve GI symptoms,hives,or sneezing and a runny nose
- Bronchodilators to relieve asthma symptoms
You should take these medicines if you have accidentally eaten a food to which you are allergic. They do not prevent an allergic reaction when taken before eating the food. No medicine in any form will reliably prevent an allergic reaction to that food before eating it.
Exercise-Induced Food Allergy
At least one situation may require more than simply eating food with allergens to start a reaction: exercise-induced food allergy.People who have this reaction only experience it after eating a specific food before exercising. As exercise increases and body temperature rises, itching and light headedness start and allergic reactions such as hives may appear and even anaphylaxis may develop. The cure for exercised-induced food allergy is simple — avoid eating for a couple of hours before exercising.