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Food Allergies - Topic Overview

The best treatment is to never eat the foods you are allergic to. Learn to read food labels and spot other names for problem foods. For example, milk may be listed as "caseinate," wheat as "gluten," and peanuts as "hydrolyzed vegetable protein." When you eat out or at other people's houses, ask about the foods you are served.

If you have a history of severe food allergies, your doctor will prescribe epinephrine (say "eh-puh-NEH-fren"). An epinephrine shot can slow down or stop an allergic reaction. Your doctor can teach you how to give yourself the shot if you need it.

You can have symptoms again even after you give yourself a shot. So go to the emergency room every time you have a severe reaction. You will need to be watched for several hours after the reaction.

If you have had a serious reaction in the past, your chance of having another one is high. Be prepared.

  • Keep epinephrine with you at all times.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet camera.gif to let others know about your food allergy.
  • Check the expiration date on the epinephrine. Replace it as needed.

Talk to your child's teachers and caregivers. They should know how to keep problem foods away from your child. Teach them what to do if your child eats one of these foods by mistake.

If your child has ever had a severe reaction, keep epinephrine nearby at all times. Some kids carry it in a fanny pack. Have your child wear a medical alert bracelet. Teach all caregivers to act quickly. They should:

  • Know the signs of a severe reaction.
  • Know how to give an epinephrine shot.
  • Call 911 right away.

Learning about food allergies:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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