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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is food allergy?
Food allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to specific proteins in certain foods. This response can cause anaphylaxis when it is severe, which can result in death if not immediately treated with adrenaline. Food allergies are often confused with food …
What are the symptoms of food allergy?
The symptoms of food allergy include hives, wheezing, swelling in the face, abdominal pain, blocked nose, a diffuse rash on the face or body, difficulty swallowing and in severe cases, breathing difficulties.
What causes food allergy?
Food allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to specific proteins in food. A type of cell, called mast cells, release an antibody, called IgE. This is known as an IgE-mediated food reaction. Food allergies can also be non-IgE mediated, but these are …
How is food allergy diagnosed?
Food allergies can be diagnosed with skin sensitivity testing, blood tests, or by carefully monitoring dietary changes.
How is food allergy treated?
If you have a food allergy, the main treatment is avoiding the foods that trigger it. If you suffer from a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, you may need to carry an adrenaline injector (commonly known as an Epipen®) to treat any severe reactions.
Can food allergy be prevented?
The only way to prevent a food allergy from being triggered is to avoid foods that trigger it. There is some evidence that breastfeeding in infancy can also reduce your child's chances of developing allergies.
What is the outlook for food allergy?
Often, a food allergy in infancy disappears by the age of five years if you stop eating the food until then. Some allergies remain for life. Managing your diet so you do not eat any food products you are allergic to means you may never suffer an …
Is food allergy serious?
How serious a food allergy is depends on how severely you react to food you are allergic to. At its most severe, an allergic reaction can cause anaphylaxis, which can result in death.
How common is food allergy?
Food allergies are becoming more common and it is not clear why. Research is being done to identify factors that might be causing the rise in cases.
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 14 May 2019
Rating: 5.0 out of 5
Votes: 879 (Click smiley face below to rate)