A food allergy occurs when the consumption of a particular food triggers a defensive response by the body’s immune system. The source of the allergen is a typically a protein in the food, which means that small amounts are sufficient to generate an immune response. Food allergies are a serious medical condition; though symptoms are often mild, in extreme cases, they can result in death. (Food allergies are distinct from food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, which, though unpleasant, are less likely to cause long-term harm.)
Medical research has identified nine types of food as responsible for roughly 90 percent of all adverse reactions. These are eggs, dairy products, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat, and sesame. Symptoms range from common allergic reactions – itchiness, hives, swelling, troubled breathing, dizziness, and gastrointestinal distress – to life-threatening conditions, including anaphylactic shock. Baptist Health is centered on you, through the full range of allergic conditions, including those requiring urgent or emergency care.