Allergy & Asthma Affiliates
Srinagesh Paluvoi, MD
Allergist & Immunologist located in Lansdowne, VA & Gainesville, VA
Food allergies can make everyday meal planning a challenge because there’s only one current treatment: keep the food out of your diet. You can get the support you need at Allergy & Asthma Affiliates, where Srinagesh Paluvoi, MD, FAAP, FACAAI, works closely with each patient to create a treatment plan and ensure they’re not at risk for a serious allergic reaction. If you have questions about food allergies, need allergy testing, or you’d like support with dietary changes, call one of the offices in Lansdowne or Gainesville, Virginia, or book an appointment online.
What causes food allergies?
A food allergy develops when your immune system mistakenly identifies a protein as harmful. When you consume anything containing that protein, your immune system releases chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction.
You can develop an allergy to any type of protein, but eight categories are responsible for 90% of all food allergies:
- Tree nuts
Food allergies often appear in childhood, but you can develop a food allergy at any age. In fact, about 45% of all allergies first appear in adults. You can also suddenly become allergic to a food you’ve enjoyed for years.
What symptoms develop if I have a food allergy?
Food allergy symptoms usually appear within several minutes to two hours after eating. In rare cases, the symptoms are delayed, appearing about 4-6 hours after consuming the protein.
You’ll develop one or more of these symptoms:
- Skin symptoms such as hives, a rash, or patches of dry, itchy skin
- Itchy mouth or ears
- Stomach pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
Food allergies can cause a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis occurs when allergic reactions affect multiple parts of your body at the same time.
The symptoms of a severe allergic reaction appear rapidly — within minutes of exposure to your allergen — so you must react quickly.
If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately use your epinephrine pen and call 911 for emergency medical care:
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen lips, tongue, and/or throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling faint or weak
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
Some patients may have a second wave of symptoms within hours of their initial anaphylactic reaction.
How are food allergies treated?
Immunotherapy to treat peanut allergies is currently being studied and may one day be available as a treatment. But, for now, there’s only one way to treat all food allergies: you must eliminate the food and all products that contain traces of the protein from your diet.
Dr. Paluvoi begins by performing allergy testing to determine which food is the source of your allergy. Once your allergen is identified, he helps you develop a plan to avoid all sources of the protein. He also prescribes an epinephrine pen to have on hand in case you suffer an anaphylactic reaction.
If you have questions about food allergies or need expert testing and care, call Allergy & Asthma Affiliates or schedule an appointment online.