About one in 10 adults and one in 13 children has food allergies or two children in every classroom. My niece is one of those two children in the classroom. She’s allergic to peanuts. Immediately after eating something with peanuts including peanut oil, she starts coughing and gagging. While reactions to food can be serious, and even life-threatening, it’s important to know the facts and what you can do to help reduce the risk of a loved one.
Common Food Allergies
There are now 9 foods responsible for 90% of all food allergies. The top 9 food allergens are:
- tree nuts
What are food allergy symptoms?
- itching or swelling of the mouth, throat, face, or skin
- trouble breathing
- stomach pain
- diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- repetitive cough
- dizziness or feeling faint
To confirm a food allergy and avoid unnecessary dietary restrictions, a diagnosis should be made by a medical doctor or allergist. There are a few tests to diagnose a food allergy.
Food Allergy Tests
- Skin Prick Test
- Blood Test (less accurate than skin prick tests)
- Oral Food Challenge (gold standard)
Food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy. Food intolerance does not trigger the immune system and is not life-threatening, although it may share similar symptoms.
Once a medical doctor or allergist has tested and confirmed food allergies, you need to be extremely careful about avoiding the offending food(s). Consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist to assist with creating a healthful eating pattern.
Food Allergy Sources