At The Coker Chest Clinic, we are specialists in diagnosing and treating food allergies. With many years’ experience and the latest technology, we can provide a confident diagnosis within 2 days.
A food allergy can be defined as an immune response to a certain food. This response can manifest in different symptoms depending on the type of allergy, from vomiting to a swollen throat. Food allergies can vary greatly in severity, and can be fatal.
Many food allergies are discovered during childhood; however, adults are not exempt from developing allergies. In fact many patients presenting with symptoms developed a food allergy in adulthood.
It is important not to self-diagnose an allergy, as symptoms may overlap with those of other conditions. Furthermore, food allergies and food intolerances are often confused; however, food intolerances are not caused by the body’s immune system. They might be as severe as food intolerance.
Food allergies symptoms
The most common foods that prompt an allergic response include meat, dairy products, eggs, nuts, fish and shellfish, wheat and soy; however, there are many other foods that cause allergies.
Symptoms of food allergies can include:
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Wheezing and coughing
- A tingling or itchy mouth
- Swelling – usually of the mouth or face, but can occur in other areas of the body
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach ache and gassiness
In severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur. This is where the body releases a flood of chemicals in response to an allergen entering the body. Symptoms after a period of minutes or hours, and can be life threatening without medical treatment. Symptoms include throat, tongue or facial swelling, or swelling in another part of the body; inability to breathe normally and comfortably; chest tightness; dizziness or fainting; or vomiting.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing anaphylaxis, seek emergency medical help immediately.
Investigations & tests for food allergies
The first investigation we will conduct when seeing a patient with a suspected food allergy is an analysis into the patient’s symptoms, medical history and family medical history.
The patient will then likely undergo food allergy testing. A blood test may also be conducted to check for an increase in a type of white blood cell or certain chemicals that appear in response to an allergen entering the body.
You should refrain from drastically changing your diet before you undergo medical investigations for a food allergy, as this can make diagnosis more difficult.
If your symptoms do not match those of a food allergy, or if the results of the investigations are inconclusive, you may be recommended to undergo a food challenge.
Treatment for food allergies
As an alternative to antihistamines and adrenaline, which only treat symptoms, we specialise in immunotherapy, which is a desensitisation treatment recognised as a cure to some allergies. This type of treatment essentially ‘trains’ the body to have less of an allergic response.
Much of the time, patients complaining of food allergy symptoms are found to have a food intolerance or (in 80% of cases) another medical condition, in which case we will take the appropriate approach to treatment.
Conditions related to food allergies
Book your consultation
Don’t let a food allergy affect how you live your life. To arrange a telephone, video or face-to-face consultation with our allergy consultant, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.