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Treatment of Food Allergies

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Updated June 25, 2008

Basic Treatment:

The basic treatment for food allergies is strict avoidance of the allergen. Unlike environmental allergens, which can sometimes be effectively treated by daily courses of antihistamines or by taking allergy shots, abstinence from allergens is currently the only medically accepted treatment for food allergies.

To avoid allergens completely, you'll need to become an expert label-reader. Two other challenges: Food allergens can also lurk in non-food sources, and cross-contamination can render otherwise allergen-free food unsafe.

Treatment of Symptoms:

While the treatment of food allergies is avoidance, in some cases it is possible to treat the symptoms of food allergies in the case of accidental exposure. Hives, for example, can sometimes be treated symptomatically, as can asthma related to food allergies. It is always advisable to contact your healthcare professional in the case of a probable allergic reaction, however.

Emergency Treatment:

Allergic emergencies occur when a patient experiences a very severe asthma attack or anaphylactic shock. Both of these events require prompt emergency attention. Patients or bystanders should call emergency medical services if an allergic individual has severe difficulty breathing, suddenly experiences a loss of consciousness, or experiences other symptoms that lead them to believe they are in the initial stages of an allergic reaction. If they have been prescribed rescue medication (such as epinephrine), they should take it per their doctor's instructions.

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