Allergen Avoidance Diets

Food allergies can be very debilitating depending on what the symptoms are and what food is the culprit. Sometimes the foods are very easy to diagnose. If someone is allergic to brussel sprouts it could be very easy to figure out since they probably only eat it once or twice over a given period of time. Unfortunately not all allergies are that easy to diagnose, or avoid. Sometimes the allergen can be from a food that is hidden or in several items that you consume on a daily basis. For example, on a can of soda, corn is the second ingredient listed in the ingredients list. Corn is also in margarine and English muffins. So, if you are allergic to corn, it can be very hard to narrow down your exposure.

Another reason it can be hard is that allergies can be fixed, or cyclic. A fixed food allergy can be easily recognized, like the child who is fed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and has an anaphylactic reaction. A cyclic food allergy is much more common and also much harder to diagnose. Fixed food allergies are easily diagnosed through blood testing or sometimes skin testing. Cyclic food allergies are based more on clinical observation and avoidance diets. You as the patient are the key to diagnosing food allergies. The symptoms can vary and even be vague. They can be anything from normal sinus pain/pressure, to asthma, eczema, gastrointestinal problems, behavior problems in children, or even something as vague as fatigue. These symptoms also do not necessarily occur the moment you eat them as with fixed food allergies. They can occur several hours or even days later. The way to better define your allergy is to document what symptoms you are experiencing in detail, also what foods you are consuming, and at what times these things are happening.

Document everything you eat, drink, and medications taken. The key to this working is to stay away from the suspected food for at least seven days, then re-assess the level of your symptoms at the end of seven days, as compared with day one. At this point you may eat the suspected item and then watch over the next several hours for a possible return of your symptoms.

Bring this information when you see your physician. Based on your results there may be several treatment options available - from avoidance and rotary diets to sublingual drops. If questions arise during these trials, please do not hesitate to call our allergy staff.

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