April showers bring May flowers, and May flowers just might bring seasonal allergies. Don’t suffer the sniffles, sneezes, and itchy, watery eyes of seasonal allergies without fighting back. Our springtime infographic
highlights some allergy basics and provides tips to help you combat seasonal allergy symptoms in your home.
Click on our
infographic for more information and useful tips.
Food allergy is a reaction by the immune system that occurs quickly after eating a food. Symptoms occur with ingestion of even a tiny amount of a food and can range from rash or mild itching of the mouth and tongue to life-threatening and life-ending reactions.
Many people who think they have a food allergy actually have food intolerance. Food allergy is estimated to affect six to eight percent of children under five, and three to four percent of adults.
Intolerances to food will affect most people at some point in their lives. For example, lactose intolerance occurs when your body can’t break down milk sugar leading to bloating, cramping and diarrhea. While food intolerances can be uncomfortable they are
less serious than food allergy and are not life-threatening.
Common food allergies for adults:
Common food allergies in children:
How do you determine if you have a food allergy to a specific food? Understanding the symptoms of an allergic reaction is important. In allergic reactions, symptoms develop within seconds to a few hours of ingesting the food. Symptoms occur each time you
ingest the food allergen. In fact, 85% of food allergic reactions occur have ingesting the same eight foods: milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut/tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Symptoms can range from mild to severe—itching in the mouth; hives or eczema; swelling
lips, face or tongue; trouble breathing; diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain; dizziness and fainting are all symptoms of allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to foods.
Rachel Story, MD, Allergist at NorthShore, highlights some approaches your physician might take to determine if you suffer from a more mild
food allergy and what might be triggering your reactions:
Food allergy can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the airways with throat closing or difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse and fainting. This type of reaction must be treated immediately
as it could result in death. All people with suspected food allergy should be evaluated by a physician as they may need to carry medications to treat accidental ingestions of food allergens. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
and cetrizine (Zyrtec) are used to treat mild reactions. Severe reactions are treated with an injection of epinephrine that can be administered using an epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen, AuviQ).
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for food allergy. However, much promising research is ongoing and there is hope for a treatment for food allergy in the next 5 to 10 years.
Are you allergic to a food? How did you discover your food allergy?
Not all health conditions need to be treated with prescription or over-the-counter medications. In fact, in some cases,
herbal remedies and supplements can help relieve symptoms and improve health.
While there is no “magic” supplement or “quick fix,” it is important to discuss any new treatment method (herbal or not) with your physician. This will ensure that no unwanted side effects or drug interactions will occur. To learn more about herbs and supplements,
Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD, Director of NorthShore’s Integrative Medicine program, offers the following herbal alternatives:
Do you use herbal remedies to help relieve common health concerns? What works for you?