How Do I Know if I Have a Food Allergy?

North Texas food allergies.
Image Credit – Kaspars Grinvalds/

Have you noticed any possible food allergy symptoms after eating eggs, peanuts, shellfish and other foods? Every week, many people across North Texas are diagnosed with allergies after undergoing a comprehensive food allergy testing process. If you suspect you might be among them, putting your health first is crucial. Here’s how to identify if you have a food allergy, and how to protect yourself from reactions.

Best Ways to Identify a Food Allergy

Data from the CDC indicates that 6.2% of U.S. adults and 5.8% of children report having food allergies in recent years. With the potential risk of anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction), finding out whether or not you have an allergy – and getting treatment – is essential.

Pay Attention to Food Allergy Symptoms

Allergy symptoms occur when a person’s immune system overreacts to harmless proteins found in certain foods, mistaking them for threats. This response triggers the release of chemicals that lead to noticeable symptoms, such as the following examples.

  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Digestive problems
  • Respiratory issues
  • Anaphylaxis

Food allergy symptoms can range from mild discomfort to more distressing responses. In some cases, a reaction could be life-threatening and require rapid epinephrine administration and further medical assistance. Keep a record of the allergy symptoms you notice (and their severity) to discuss with your allergist.

Get Diagnosed With Food Allergy Testing

Allergy testing is an important part of managing an allergy. During the diagnostic process your allergist will review your medical history, along with the foods consumed before symptoms appeared. Skin prick testing (the most common method for diagnosing food allergies) offers almost immediate results. The allergist will then assess these results with your symptom details and medical history to determine whether or not you have a food allergy. In certain situations an oral food challenge may be conducted as an alternative method of testing.

Understand the Difference Between a Food Allergy and Intolerance

Recognizing if you have a food allergy can be complicated by an allergy’s similarities with a food intolerance. Crucially, food allergies involve the immune system and may cause severe symptoms, whereas an intolerance usually causes only digestive issues. If there’s any confusion, your allergist can confirm whether you are dealing with an allergy.

Keep a Food Diary

Keeping a food diary can offer valuable insights when diagnosing a food allergy. Document the vital details – record everything you consume, note the specific consumption times and so on. When these entries are cross-referenced with the timing and severity of your symptoms, your allergist can clearly understand the probable causes of your allergic reactions. Consequently, you’ll be able to receive a personalized food allergy management plan, one that is tailored to provide relief from your ongoing symptoms.

Visit Us for Food Allergy Testing in McKinney and Southlake

If you’ve experienced any of the common signs of a food allergy, TexasAllergyMD can help with our simple, accurate food allergy testing services. For assistance, visit one of our allergy treatment centers in McKinney/Prosper or Southlake. Call (469) 375-1525 or request an appointment today.

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