How to Manage Your Food Allergies

It's not uncommon for people to have one or more food allergies. Some allergies have a genetic component, but others can occur at random. Allergies are an autoimmune response that occurs when your immune system identifies a harmless substance as a potential threat. Even if you've never had an allergic reaction before, you can develop allergies suddenly. Here are four tips to help you manage your food allergies:

1. Get yourself tested.

Unless you're sure you know what your allergy triggers are, it's a good idea to have yourself tested. An allergy test will conclusively tell you which foods you should avoid. Allergy tests can be carried out by allergists in a safe environment. If you experience a negative reaction to the test, a doctor will be on hand to provide medication to treat your symptoms.

2. Treat allergic reactions promptly.

If you experience an allergic reaction after eating a certain food, treat the reaction in a timely manner. Mild allergic reactions can manifest in the form of an itchy mouth or hives on your body. These mild symptoms can be alleviated using oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can make you drowsy, so avoid driving after taking them. If you experience swelling of your face or mouth, or if you have a hard time breathing, you should go to the emergency room immediately; these are symptoms of anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.

3. Seek food allergy treatment services for severe allergies.

Avoiding foods you're allergic to is usually the best course of action. However, people with severe allergies may be at risk from even accidental exposure. If your food allergy is life-threatening, you should seek out the services of a food allergy treatment center. A qualified allergist can use oral immunotherapy to reduce the severity of your allergic reactions. During IOT, you'll be given small amounts of the food you're allergic to. When repeated over time, this can help your immune system build up a tolerance so you're less likely to go into anaphylactic shock due to accidental ingestion. IOT should only be performed under the supervision of a medical healthcare professional because it can be very dangerous to do it alone.

4. Get an epinephrine auto-injector.

Epinephrine auto-injectors can be used to halt the progression of anaphylaxis. Anyone who has experienced an anaphylactic reaction should have an auto-injector. The epinephrine will open up your airways, giving you enough time to get to the hospital. Always seek emergency treatment after using an epinephrine auto-injector because your symptoms may return once the medication wears off.