Gores Family Allergy Center - Education and Resources
- A New Food Allergy Diagnosis
- Allergen Free Diet Guides
- Other Resources
Food plays such a central to our everyday life that when disease like food allergy intrudes it becomes not only a medical and nutritional challenge, but also a psychological and social one as well. Celebrations can become isolating and filled with dread and worry for fear of a serious allergic reaction.
Food allergy affects up to 8% of children and an estimated 15 million people in the US alone with number only expected to rise. Allergies are the result of a reaction that starts in the immune system. For instance, in peanut allergy, the immune system identifies a protein found in peanut as an allergen. The immune system reacts by producing antibodies of a specific type - Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies attach to cells in your skin, lungs and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. If exposed to the allergen again, a series of events are triggered (the allergic reaction), which cause food allergy symptoms such as itching, hives, swelling, diarrhea, wheezing and a potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Common Food Allergens
The most common food allergens are:
- tree nuts
Most children outgrow their allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. However, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergy tends to persist through adulthood. Repeat allergy testing can help identify when a person’s food allergies may be resolving.
Treating Food Allergies
While there is currently no cure for food allergy, there are many promising treatments under investigation.
Avoidance and preparedness in how to treat symptoms are the pillars to managing food allergy. People with food allergy should always carry auto-injectable epinephrine to be used in the event of a severe reaction. If you have any of these symptoms in the context of eating, use the epinephrine auto-injector and immediately call 911. Patients should not wait to see if symptoms go away or get better on their own.
We’ve organized various websites that provide additional information and guidelines for those living with food allergy:
- FARE, Food Allergy Research & Education: Non-profit organization providing detailed food allergy information, raising awareness and fund-raising for research
- AAAAI, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Professional membership organization focusing on research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases
- AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics: Professional membership organization dedicated to the health and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults
- Kids with Food Allergies: Organization that offers practical tips and recipes for parents of children with food allergies, a division of AAFA
- AAFA, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Organization provides information and education on asthma and allergies
- Allergic Living: Magazine discussing issues relevant to food allergies, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or environmental allergies
- Allergy Eats: Online guide to allergy friendly restaurants nationwide
- Content Checked: Mobile app to assist with food selection
- Shop Well: Mobile app to assist with food selection