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What is the treatment for a food allergy?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

The best way to "treat" food allergies is to avoid the food that causes the allergy. This often requires some detective work but labeling laws in the United States have made the process a little easier. All packaged foods must list the most common allergens found in the product.

  • Avoid obvious foods that you are allergic to.
  • Do research to find out if the food you're allergic to might also include other foods. For example, many people who are allergic to bananas also have adverse reactions to mango and avocado.
  • Read labels for packaged foods. Look for all forms of the allergen. If you’re allergic to milk, check for code words including but not limited to casein, whey, lacto albumin and butter.
  • Be sure to check restaurant menus and let your server know about any allergies during ordering and when the food is served.
  • If you’re invited to a dinner party, be sure to let the host know about your allergy in advance so that he or she can plan for your special needs. This makes it more comfortable for both of you.
Ms. Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Once diagnosed with food allergies, strict avoidance is the only method of preventing a food allergic reaction. An antihistamine (Benadryl) is often used to treat mild food allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, skin itching/rash, hives. Epipen (injectable epinephrine) is the medication of choice for a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis.

Although it's not a treatment for a food allergy, the best thing to do is avoid the allergic reaction by avoiding eating the food that causes the allergic response. There is currently no cure for food allergies.

Avoiding foods that cause your symptoms is the only "treatment" for food allergies. Unfortunately, that is often easier said than done. Foods like milk and wheat, for example, are ubiquitous, so life can be very difficult if you are allergic to them.

Even peanuts can be hard to avoid, because the world is full of nuts. Specifically, peanuts and peanut traces are found in cookies, cakes, cookies, candy bars, breakfast cereals, Asian cooking (peanut oil is popular), ice creams, breads, desserts, gravies and sauces, and in a variety of processed foods. People who have experienced or are at high risk to experience for life-threatening food allergies are advised to carry injectable epinephrine and possibly antihistamines. These items will reduce serious symptoms and buy a sufferer time to seek medical help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.