Food allergies impact people of all ages and backgrounds. These allergies may change over time and experiences can range from slight discomfort to anaphylaxis. According to the Center for Disease Control, cases of food allergies are on the rise — especially in children. Understanding what foods can trigger an allergy from clinical testing can help people stay healthy and feel better about what they eat.
While some people may confuse a food allergy for an sensitivity, it’s important to know the difference between the two. A food allergy is more dangerous than an sensitivity, as it involves a completely different part of the immune system. These reactions can occur after eating a problem food or even just in the presence of the problem food. Most allergies actually develop in childhood and children generally outgrow them, but that is not always the case.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
Each year in the United States, 200,000 people require emergency care due to an allergic reaction to food. Additionally, an estimated 32 million Americans have some sort of food allergy. Knowing which foods trigger symptoms and which symptoms to look out for can go a long way in helping curb reactions.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction vary from person to person, however, there are a few symptoms that are common. These symptoms can include:
- Skin rashes such as hives
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tingling in the mouth
- Runny nose
- Burning sensation in the lips and mouth
- Watery eyes
Reactions such as the ones above can cause discomfort, but should go away over time and should not require medical attention. More serious symptoms may cause an anaphylactic reaction which is very severe and requires near immediate medical attention. Signs of an anaphylactic reaction can include:
- Drop in blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid swelling of the throat, face, lips, and mouth
- Loss of consciousness
Major Food Allergens
Eight foods are responsible for 90% of allergic reactions in the United States. While other foods may trigger a reaction, the major allergens include:
- Fish (such as bass, flounder, and cod)
- Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Know Your Risk
Diagnosing a food allergy through clinical testing allows you to know what you’re allergic to in a controlled environment. This can give you peace of mind before the risk of anaphylactic reactions to foods. Additionally, clinical testing helps you understand how to plan your meals to limit any discomfort. At ARCpoint Labs, our catalog of clinical tests can help you get the information you need to know. From specific allergen tests to our comprehensive panel, find your local ARCpoint Labs and schedule your test.