A food allergy happens when your immune system reacts to something that you’ve eaten.
When you eat something you are allergic to, your body makes antibodies. Over time, sometimes as soon as the second time you eat it, the antibodies spring into action, starting a process that includes the release of lots of histamine to fight what it believes is invading your body.
It's hard enough to cope with allergies on the weekend, but dealing with allergies at work is even more challenging.
Ask anyone who's ever dozed off in the middle of an important meeting because of allergy symptoms or medications.
"Allergy symptoms are the No. 2 reason adults miss work," says James Sublett, MD, a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist in Louisville, Ky.
The average worker with allergies misses about one hour per week over the course of a year. But that sick time is often...
Tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts, and Brazil nuts)
How Are Food Allergies Diagnosed?
If you keep a food diary, your doctor will have a better starting point to figure out foods that could trigger your allergies.
Your doctor may suggest a food elimination diet. If he does, you may be asked to eliminate one or several foods to see if the reaction goes away.
Oral food challenges -- exposing the person to the suspected food under medical supervision -- are thought to be helpful as well. These are usually done after the elimination diet.
Your doctor may do a radioallergosorbent blood test (he may call it a RAST) to see how many antibodies your immune system makes. High levels of some antibodies can help your doctor spot specific food allergies.
Some food allergies are very mild, and in difficult-to-diagnose cases, a promising new antibody test may help. More research is needed. Also, there are now genetic tests, especially for gluten and celiac (wheat, barley, rye, and some oats).