Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food, triggered by the body’s immune system. During a food allergy reaction, the immune system identifies a specific food as a foreign substance. The body then produces allergy antibodies (IgE) to attack the food identified as foreign. The response may be mild, or in rare cases it can be associated with the severe and life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
If you are allergic to a particular food, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Itching of the mouth, face, and body
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
- Hives or eczema
- Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
- Drop in blood pressure
A food allergy can be potentially fatal.
As many as 15 million Americans have a food allergy, including approximately 6 million children.
Board-certified allergists are the only physicians with specialized training in food allergy.