Food Allergies Specialist

Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center

Allergy and Immunology & Allergy & Asthma located in Kingsport, TN & Johnson City, TN

Food allergies are common and affect one in 13 children and one in 10 adults. Though symptoms vary, food allergies can lead to life-threatening allergic reactions. The experienced team at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee; and Abingdon, Virginia, including the leading physician in the field, Shailee Madhok, MD, are allergy specialists and offer advanced diagnostic testing and treatments for food allergies. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book online today.

Food Allergies Q&A

What are food allergies?

Food allergies are an abnormal immune system response to a substance in a specific food, referred to as an allergen. When exposed to the allergen, your immune system views it as harmful and develops antibodies that attack the allergen, resulting in allergy symptoms.

Currently, more than 170 foods are known to cause allergic reactions. However, the most common food allergens include:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans)

Sesame seeds and its oil are also becoming a more common food allergen. 

What are food allergy symptoms?

Food allergy symptoms vary in type and severity. Common symptoms include:

  • Itchy mouth or throat
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Drop in blood pressure

In severe cases, food allergies cause anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical care. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include shortness of breath, dizziness, or loss of consciousness. 

How are food allergies diagnosed?

The team at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center specializes in the diagnosis of food allergies and performs a comprehensive exam to confirm or rule out a food allergy. During your exam, the team reviews symptoms, medical and family history, and conducts a physical exam.

To confirm or rule a specific food allergen, the team at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center conducts what’s referred to as an open food challenge. During the test, you bring in the suspected food allergen, and the team has you consume a small amount so they can monitor for a reaction. 

You may also have skin allergy testing and blood tests to identify the food allergen responsible for your symptoms. A food elimination diet or food diary may also be helpful.

How are food allergies treated?

The team recommends the complete elimination of the food allergen from your diet to minimize symptoms. Even if your symptoms are mild, continued exposure to the food allergen may increase your risk of anaphylaxis. 

Though you may do your best to avoid the food allergen, the team may prescribe medication to manage symptoms from accidental exposures. For mild food allergy reactions, the team prescribes antihistamines, and for severe allergic reactions, an epinephrine autoinjector, also known as an epinephrine pen. 

To schedule an appointment with the food allergy specialists, call Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center, or book online today.