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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Food Allergies
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are typically harmless to most people. Substances that cause allergic reactions, such as certain foods, dust, plant pollen, or medicines, are known as allergens. In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system produces IgE antibodies to that specific allergen. Those antibodies then cause certain cells in the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream, one of which is histamine (pronounced: his-tuh-meen).
The histamine then acts on a person's eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract and causes the symptoms of the allergic reaction. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this antibody response again. This means that every time you come into contact with that allergen, you'll have an allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions can be mild, like a runny nose, or they can be severe, like difficulty breathing. An asthma attack, for example, is often an allergic reaction to something that is breathed into the lungs in a person who is susceptible.
Some types of allergies produce multiple symptoms, and in rare cases, an allergic reaction can become very severe — this severe reaction is called anaphylaxis (pronounced: ah-nuh-fuh-lak-sis). Some of the signs of anaphylaxis are difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat or other parts of the body, and dizziness or loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis usually occurs minutes after exposure to a triggering substance, such as a peanut, but some reactions may be delayed by as long as 4 hours. Luckily, anaphylactic reactions don't occur often, and they can be treated successfully if proper medical procedures are followed.
Why Do People Get Allergies?
The tendency to develop allergies is often hereditary, which means it can be passed down through your genes. (Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad!) However, just because a parent or sibling might have allergies, that doesn't mean you will definitely get them, too. A person usually doesn't inherit a particular allergy, just the likelihood of having allergies.
What Are Some Things That People Are Allergic To?
How Do Doctors Diagnose and Treat Allergies?
In some cases, like food allergies, avoiding the allergen is a life-saving necessity. That's because, unlike allergies to airborne particles that can be treated with shots or medications, the only way to treat food allergies is to avoid the allergen entirely. For example, people who are allergic to peanuts should avoid not only peanuts, but also any food that might contain even tiny traces of them.
bathe them if necessary.
• Remove carpets or rugs from your room (hard floor surfaces don't
collect dust as much as carpets do).
• Don't hang heavy drapes, and get rid of other items that allow dust
• Clean frequently (if your allergy is severe, you may be able to get
someone else to do your dirty work!)
• Use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if you're allergic
to dust mites.
• If you're allergic to pollen, keep windows closed when pollen season
is at its peak, change your clothing after being outdoors — and don't
• Avoid damp areas, such as basements, if you're allergic to mold,
and keep bathrooms and other mold-prone areas clean and dry.
Is It a Cold or Allergies?
Dealing With Allergies?
What is Food Allergies?
What is a food allergy?
What are the common symptoms of a reaction?
What is the best treatment for a food allergy reaction?
Is there a cure for food allergies?
Tips For Managing Certain Food Allergies
Tips for Managing a Milk Allergy
Fortunately, milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute in baking and cooking. It can be substituted, in equal amounts, with water or fruit juice.
(For example, substitute 1-cup milk with 1 cup water.)
Some Hidden Sources of Milk
• Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein.
• Many non-dairy products contain casein (a milk derivative), listed
on the ingredient labels.
• Some meats may contain casein as a binder. Check all labels
• Many restaurants put butter on steaks after they have been grilled
to add extra flavor. The butter is not visible after it melts.
Goat's milk protein is similar to cow's milk protein and may, therefore, cause a reaction in milk-allergic individuals. It is not a safe alternative.
The Jewish community uses a system of product markings to indicate whether a food is kosher, or in accordance with Jewish dietary rules.
There are two kosher symbols that can be of help for those with a milk allergy: a "D," or the word "dairy," on a label next to "K" or "U" (usually found near the product name) indicates presence of milk protein, and a "DE" on a label indicates the product was produced on equipment shared with dairy.
If the product contains neither meat nor dairy products it is "pareve" (parev, parve). Pareve-labeled products indicate that the products are considered milk-free according to religious specifications. Be aware that under Jewish law, a food product may be considered pareve even if it contains a very small amount of milk. Therefore, a product labeled as pareve could potentially have enough milk protein in it to cause a reaction in a milk-allergic individual.
Do these ingredients contain milk?
They do not contain milk protein and need not be restricted by someone avoiding milk:
(however, lactic acid starter culture may contain milk)
Tips for Managing an Egg Allergy
For each egg, substitute one of the following in recipes. These substitutes work well when baking from scratch and substituting 1 to 3 eggs.
• 1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
• 1 1/2 T. water, 1 1/2 T. oil, 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1 packet gelatin, 2 T. warm water. Do not mix until ready to use.
coffee drinks and are used in some bar drinks.
• Some commercial brands of egg substitutes contain egg whites.
• Most commercially processed cooked pastas (including those used in prepared
foods such as soup) contain egg or are processed on equipment shared with
egg-containing pastas. Boxed, dry pastas are usually egg-free, but may be
processed on equipment that is also used for egg-containing products. Fresh
pasta is sometimes egg-free, too. Read the label or ask about ingredients before
The recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) acknowledge that the MMR vaccine can be safely administered to all patients with egg allergy. The AAP recommendations have been based, in part, on overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the routine use of one-dose administration of the MMR vaccine to egg-allergic patients. This includes those patients with a history of severe, generalized anaphylactic reactions to egg.
Yes, influenza vaccines usually contain a small amount of egg protein.
Is a flu shot safe for an individual with an egg allergy?
Influenza vaccines are grown on egg embryos and may contain a small amount
of egg protein. If you or your child is allergic to eggs, speak to your doctor before receiving a flu shot.
Can someone who is allergic to eggs have a flu shot?
Scientists suggest individuals with egg allergy be given an allergy test with the vaccine. If the test results are negative, the vaccine may be given in a single dose.
If the test results are positive, individual assessment of benefits versus risk should be discussed with a doctor.
Because of a family history of allergy, I have been advised to delay the introduction of egg until my child is 2 years of age. Does this mean my child should not be given the flu shot?
Children under 23 months of age may be at higher risk for complications from influenza and are a group that typically require more hospitalizations from this sometimes fatal disease. You and your child's doctor should discuss the options. The general guideline is to follow the current CDC recommendations regarding the administration of the influenza vaccine to infants 6 to 23 months of age, unless the infant has a known clinical history of egg allergy.
Is an intranasal influenza vaccine an option for someone with an egg allergy?
The intranasal vaccine contains egg protein, and it not recommended for use in individuals with egg allergy. It is approved for use in persons ages 5 to 49 years,
but it is not approved for use in patients with asthma.
Tips for Managing a Peanut Allergy
a nut, such as pecan or walnut. Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond
• Arachis oil is peanut oil.
• African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes often
contain peanuts or are contaminated with peanuts during the preparation process.
Additionally, foods sold in bakeries and ice cream shops are often in contact with
• Many brands of sunflower seeds are produced on equipment shared with peanuts.
Although once considered to be a lifelong allergy, recent studies indicate that up to 20 percent of children diagnosed with peanut allergy outgrow it.
Many nut butters are produced on equipment used to process peanut butter, therefore making it somewhat of a risky alternative. Additionally, most experts recommend peanut-allergic patients avoid tree nuts as well.
(not cold pressed, expelled, or extruded peanut oil - sometimes represented
as gourmet oils). If you are allergic to peanuts, ask your doctor whether or
not you should avoid peanut oil.
• Most experts recommend peanut-allergic patients avoid tree nuts as an
• Peanuts can be found in many foods and candies, especially chocolate candy.
Check all labels carefully. Contact the manufacturer if you have questions.
• Peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions. If prescribed, carry epinephrine
at all times.
Tips for Managing a Tree Nut Allergy
a nut, such as pecan or walnut. Mandelonas are peanuts soaked in almond
• Mortadella may contain pistachios.
• Tree nuts have been used in many foods, including barbecue sauce,
cereals, crackers, and ice cream.
• Kick sacks, or hacky sacks, bean bags, and draftdodgers are sometimes
filled with crushed nut shells.
Discuss this with your doctor. Coconut, the seed of a drupaceous fruit, has typically not been restricted in the diets of people with tree nut allergy. However, in October of 2006, the FDA began identifying coconut as a tree nut. The available medical literature contains documentation of perhaps six cases of allergic reaction to coconut; none occur in people with allergy to other tree nuts. Ask your doctor if you need to avoid coconut.
Is nutmeg safe?
Nutmeg is obtained from the seeds of the tropical tree species Myristica fragrans. It is safe for an individual with a tree nut allergy.
Should water chestnuts be avoided?
The water chestnut is not a nut; it is an edible portion of a plant root known as a "corm." It is safe for someone who is allergic to tree nuts.
epinephrine, be sure to always carry it with you.
• Most experts advise tree nut-allergic patients to avoid peanuts as well.
• Most experts advise patients who have been diagnosed with an allergy to
specific tree nuts to avoid all tree nuts.
Tips for Managing a Fish and/or Shellfish Allergy
Some Hidden Sources of Fish
• Caesar salad dressings and steak or Worcestershire sauce
often contain anchovies.
• Surimi (imitation crabmeat) contains fish.
Carrageenan is not fish. Carrageenan, or "Irish moss," is a red marine algae. This food product is used in a wide variety of foods, particularly dairy foods, as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener. It appears safe for most individuals with food allergies. Carrageenan is not related to fish or shellfish and does not need to be avoided by those with food allergies.
Allergy to iodine, allergy to radiocontrast material (used in some lab procedures), and allergy to fish or shellfish are not related. If you have an allergy to fish or shellfish, you do not need to worry about cross reactions with radiocontrast material or iodine.
of the risk of contamination in the food-preparation area of their "non-fish"
meal from a counter, spatula, cooking oil, fryer, or grill exposed to fish.
• Fish protein can become airborne during cooking and cause an allergic reaction.
• Some individuals have had reactions from walking through a fish market.
• Allergic reactions to fish and shellfish can be severe and are often a cause
Tips for Managing a Soy Allergy
• At least one brand of peanut butter lists soy on the label.
• Studies show that most soy-allergic individuals may safely eat soybean oil (not cold pressed, expeller pressed, or extruded oil). If you are allergic to soy, ask your doctor whether or not you should avoid soy oil.
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. trimmed beef, thinly sliced
1 to 2 T. of oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove minced garlic
1 T. grated fresh gingerroot
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup bell pepper, thinly sliced
In small bowl, combine cornstarch and orange juice. Set aside. In wok, add beef, oil, and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry over high heat until beef is browned. Remove beef with slotted spoon. Set aside. Add garlic, gingerroot, onion, and bell pepper to oil remaining in the wok. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Add cornstarch/orange juice mixture. Simmer until thickened. Add beef and toss with sauce. Can be served over noodles or rice.
Tips for Managing a Wheat Allergy?
When baking with wheat-free flours, a combination of flours usually works best. Experiment with different blends to find one that will give you the texture you are trying to achieve.
Try substituting 1 cup wheat flour with one of the following:
• 5/8 cup potato starch flour
• 1 cup soy flour plus 1/4 cup potato starch flour
• 1 cup corn flour
What is the difference between celiac disease and wheat allergy?
Celiac disease and wheat allergy are two distinct conditions. Celiac disease, or "celiac sprue," is a permanent adverse reaction to gluten. Those with celiac disease will not lose their sensitivity to this substance. This disease requires a lifelong restriction of gluten.
Wheat-allergic people have an IgE-mediated response to wheat protein. These individuals must only avoid wheat. Most wheat-allergic children outgrow the allergy.
No. Kamut is a cereal grain, which is related to wheat. Spelt is ancient wheat that has recently been marketed as safe for wheat-allergic individuals. This claim is untrue, however. Wheat-allergic patients can react as readily to spelt as they do to common wheat.
• Read labels carefully. At least one brand of hot dogs and one brand of
ice cream contain wheat. It is listed on the label.
• Many country-style wreaths are decorated with wheat products.
• Some types of imitation crabmeat contain wheat.
• Wheat flour is sometimes flavored and shaped to look like beef, pork,
and shrimp, especially in Asian dishes.
Allergy, Asthma & Sinus, LLC
1690 Stone Village Lane, Suite 1001
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152
Allergy, Asthma & Sinus, LLC
16 Collins Dr,
Cartersville, Georgia 30120