Food Allergy Specialist

Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington

Allergy and Asthma Specialists located in Fairfax, VA & Gainesville, VA

Food allergies can cause reactions that range from mild to life threatening. Our experts at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment plans to manage your food allergy. Call or schedule an appointment online today with our providers at one of our locations in Fairfax, Gainesville, Vienna, Warrenton, Culpeper, or Front Royal to conquer your food allergies.

Food Allergy Q & A

What is a food allergy?

Food allergy is when your immune system perceives a particular protein in a food as a threat so it launches an attack. An allergic reaction can cause mild symptoms one time, but a more severe reaction the next time. 

Food allergies typically are diagnosed in children but can occur in adults.

Some common foods that can cause allergic reactions include:

 

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

What are symptoms of a food allergy?

Food allergies can cause a range of symptoms including:

  • Itching or tingling sensations in your mouth
  • Itchy skin rashes like hives or eczema
  • Swelling in your mouth or throat
  • Chest congestion, trouble breathing, or wheezing
  • Gastrointestinal upset with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting

A severe reaction can lead to anaphylactic shock, a potentially life threatening condition. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, feeling faint, and passing out which can result in death.

The allergic reaction can be different with each exposure. One time there may be mild symptoms; another time there may be a severe reaction.

How are food allergies diagnosed?

A diagnosis of food allergy is life changing. It is important to have a complete assessment by a food allergy expert. An allergist is a physician who has received additional training in the field of allergy.

Our providers at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington will recommend a testing approach to evaluate your or your child’s food allergies. This can include skin testing and blood testing. Skin testing involves injecting a small amount of food allergen into your skin. If you are allergic, you should develop a raised red bump right away at the test site. Sometimes a certain type of blood test may help in further examining a food allergy. Skin testing and certain blood tests are the only scientifically validated methods available to diagnose food allergies.

How are food allergies treated?

Avoidance strategies are a common method of dealing with food allergies. Another method is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT), where you consume small amounts of the food to help your body develop a resistance, leading to reduction or elimination of your allergic response when again exposed to that food.

Since allergic reactions can be life threatening, it is important to carry an epinephrine autoinjector, the only medication available for severe allergies.

Because allergic reactions to food can be life threatening, schedule your food allergy evaluation at Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Greater Washington today. Book your visit by calling the most convenient location or using the online scheduler.