Food Allergies

Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic

Allergists, Asthma Specialists, & Immunologists located in the Pacific Region

Around 50 million Americans live with a food allergy, including up to 6% of children and 4% of adults. At Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic, the team provides extensive testing and treatment for food allergies at 13 locations across state lines in Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho. If you’re concerned about food allergies, call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or make an appointment online today.

Food Allergies Q & A

What are common food allergies?

Unfortunately, many people suffer from food allergies and are unable to eat certain foods without developing uncomfortable and potentially dangerous allergic symptoms, which can range from skin rashes and hives to gastrointestinal problems and anaphylaxis. Some of the most common culprits of food allergies include:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy 

Additionally, some seeds such as mustard and sesame can trigger an allergic reaction. Fruits, especially citrus fruits, are known to cause allergic reactions. 

What are the signs of a food allergy?

Food allergy symptoms range in severity. Depending on your specific allergy, you may experience:

  • Hives
  • Vomiting and stomach cramps
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Tight, hoarse throat
  • Swelling in your tongue or mouth
  • Weak pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Anaphylaxis

In most cases, you develop food allergy symptoms within two hours of ingestion. However, you may have symptoms within minutes. 

How are food allergies diagnosed?

The team at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic provides a variety of allergy tests, including skin prick, patch, and intradermal allergy testing. Additionally, they offer closely supervised oral challenges. 

During an oral challenge, you follow a very restricted diet for a few weeks to remove all traces of potential food allergens from your body. Then, under the close supervision of your allergist, you consume one potential allergen at a time and wait to see if you react before trying another item.

How are food allergies treated?

The doctors at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic provide customized treatment plans for food allergies. They help you develop avoidance strategies and action plans to keep on file at work or school in case of a reaction. If you’re at risk of anaphylaxis, they can prescribe an epinephrine injector. They also offer immunotherapy treatments to desensitize your immune system. 

Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment plan. During the treatment, you’re exposed to tiny amounts of a diluted allergen on a regular basis to train your immune system not to respond. Initially, you may need weekly immunotherapy sessions. However, as you continue with treatment, your doctor reduces the frequency of your appointments. 

Call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned about a food allergy.