Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland
Vasif C Kalfa, MD
Allergist & Immunologist located in Silver Spring, MD
Peanut, milk, eggs, and other food allergies can cause severe symptoms in both children and adults. At Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland in Silver Spring, Maryland, internationally renowned allergist Vasif Kalfa, MD, offers cutting-edge care for food allergies. If you need to find out whether you have a food allergy and, if so, how you can desensitize yourself, call the office or book an appointment online.
Food Allergies Q & A
What are food allergies?
Food allergies are allergic reactions to certain types of foods, with common examples including:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts)
- Shellfish (shrimp, crab, prawns, and lobster)
- Fish (flounder, cod, bass, salmon, snapper, and others)
You can have more than one food allergy at a time, although some people have a severe reaction to only one kind of food. Children have food allergies more often than adults, but they’re potentially dangerous at any age.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
Food allergy symptoms are different with every person, but common reactions include:
- Itchiness or tingling around the mouth
- Swelling in your face, lips, throat, or tongue
- Breathing difficulties, which may be similar to an asthma attack
- Stomach cramps
- Coughing, which may become a chronic cough if untreated
In the most severe instances, you could have a life-threatening reaction, anaphylaxis. With anaphylaxis, your airways close and your throat swells. You could lose consciousness, go into shock, or even suffocate if you don't get medical help right away.
How does food allergy testing work?
At Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland, Dr. Kalfa performs all types of allergy testing, including blood tests, skin prick tests, and oral food challenges.
In an oral food challenge, performed in the office, you eat small amounts of a possible food allergen, with the dose gradually increased. Dr. Kalfa observes you closely, allowing him to observe the clinical signs of a food allergy in real time to make an accurate diagnosis.
An oral challenge is an extremely effective testing method, and it's completely safe. Dr. Kalfa is right there to help if you have a serious reaction. You should never try oral challenges at home.
How does desensitization work for food allergies?
Food allergy desensitization, or oral immunotherapy, is a treatment for food allergies. With desensitization, you consume the food allergen in tiny, measured amounts on a set schedule.
Dr. Kalfa designs your schedule to help your body grow immunity gradually until you can eat the food allergen without a serious reaction. The goal of oral immunotherapy is to protect you in case of accidental exposure while allowing you to reintroduce the food into your regular diet.
Oral immunotherapy can be more than 90% effective in private clinics like Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland because Dr. Kalfa can tailor your program to your needs.
For food allergy help, call Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Maryland or book an appointment online.