Food Allergy Doctor in NYC
Learn How to Get Relief from Your Food Allergies
Our NY allergy practice specializes in solving difficult cases through
the latest technology in testing and compassionate care. That's why
we are known as The Allergy Detectives. There has been an increase in
food allergies as people in general are becoming more allergic. Food allergies
can cause very serious symptoms including anaphylaxis, seizures, comas
and even death.
Dr. Dean Mitchell specializes in food allergies, including difficult cases,
and can help you manage your food allergy so that you are less likely
to have an allergic reaction or suffer from severe symptoms.
- Tree Nuts
Food Allergy Treatment
Unfortunately, there are no real cures for food allergies. Some preliminary
tests have found that children given teeny oral doses of milk or peanut
can build up a resistance, in a similar way to how immunotherapy works,
but this is still considered experimental. Currently, immunotherapy shots
or allergy drops are not recommended for food allergies. Your best treatment
Even with the most diligent parents, avoidance is not 100% protection.
One of my patients was a five-year-old boy named Timmy. He was allergic
to peanuts, and his mother was always careful and hyper vigilant. But
one day she took Timmy to an ice cream shop and ordered him a sundae specifying
no nuts. After his second spoonful, Timmy said, “Mommy, I don’t
feel good.” He began to break out in hives all over his body and
was wheezing loudly. She quickly checked the sundae and saw bottom Reese’s
Pieces at the bottom, which contain peanuts. She raced him to the nearest
hospital, where I met them. He immediately received a dose of adrenalin
and his symptoms subsided.
Avoidance means that parents and the patients themselves have to be careful
about what they eat.
- read labels for ingredients in packaged foods
- avoid processed foods when possible
- do not accept or eat foods with unknown content
The tragedies of stories of patients with peanut allergies who died because
they ate a food unknowingly containing peanut are too numerous to detail.
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network is a great organization that puts out alerts when a food product has been
contaminated with a potential allergen and offers excellent updates of
new laws protecting food allergy patients.
If you or your child has a severe food allergy, you should carry injectable
epinephrine known as an Epipen or Twin-Jet. This medication can be purchased
with a physician’s prescription, and the patient should be shown
when and how to use it in the office. If you do need to use it, seek medical
attention afterward for observation. If your food allergy is less severe,
and you develop hives, for example, you can take an oral antihistamine
The new blood testing technology we use in out NYC and Long Island offices
can pinpoint the specific
food allergy you are sensitive to. Knowing what the source is and how sensitive you
are can help to avoid exposure. To get tested, contact us today.
Food Allergy Myths
Myth #1: If you got through childhood without a food allergy, you’re home free
Fact: Food allergies can develop at any age.
Myth #2: Peanuts are the only seriously dangerous food.
Fact: You can develop anaphylaxis to a number of foods like tree nuts, fish,
shellfish and milk.
Corollary Myth #3: If you’re allergic to peanuts, you’ll have an anaphylactic
reaction if you’re exposed.
Fact: Not everyone who is allergic to peanuts has severe reactions. They can
be mild, such as itching, rashes and having trouble breathing.
High Risk Factors of Having Food Allergies
Genetics: A child with one allergic parent has a 33% chance of developing allergies.
With both parents having allergies, 70%.
Environmental factors: The way a food is prepared can make it more or less allergenic. For instance,
dry-roasted peanuts are more allergenic than raw or boiled peanuts. Skin
exposure to a food like peanuts can raise your risk (many soaps, shampoos
or other products have peanut oil in them). Stomach acidity and bacteria
flora in the gut are also important factors in food allergies.
Antibiotics: New studies show that taking antibiotics early in life can “clean
out” helpful gut flora, making a child
more susceptible to developing food allergies. A number of studies have found that taking probiotics can restore the
good flora and decrease the chances of developing food allergies. Long-term
antibiotic use can also result in
Candida overgrowth. If you think you have a food allergy, contact us to get tested. We can help.
How We Diagnose Food Allergies
Take a detailed history: Look for genetic and lifestyle risk factors for food allergies. Your history
takes into account foods you are eating—because that’s where
the culprit is likely to be. For example, in the United States, wheat
allergy is much more common than in China, because we eat so much pizza,
pasta and bread. In China, the number one food allergy is, you guessed it, rice.
Rule out sensitivity to food: This is different than a true allergy and often confused. There are various
common food sensitivities including lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity
(in severe cases, it’s called Celiac disease) and gastrointestinal
reflux (GERD). The symptoms tend to be different and can include digestive
problems like gas and pain, nausea, as well as itching, or even joint
pain, headaches, rashes and anemia.
Testing for food allergies: This can be done in two ways. One of the older ways is called skin-prick
testing. This is where a drop of a liquid allergen is placed on the surface
of the skin and gently pricked with a plastic tooth-pick device. If your
skin develops an itchy, red wheal (bump), then this could mean you’re
allergic to the particular allergen. This does come with a small risk
of having a severe reaction to the allergen.
New advances in testing
The innovative way to test for food allergies is through blood testing.
The most precise tests available, called ImmunoCAP and ISAC by Phadia,
measure the specific allergen components. The blood is drawn and sent
to a lab to be analyzed for levels of individual protein components of
the allergen. This is important because being allergic to some protein
components is more dangerous than others.
The advantages of blood tests are that they are accurate and safe. You’re
not exposed to the allergen, so there’s no risk of having a severe
reaction to the test. The ISAC test in particular does precise component
testing of specific food and environmental allergens. This gives the advantage
of avoiding false cross-reacting positive test, and gives a quantified
level of specific allergen.
Contact us today to schedule your new patient appointment or
learn more about our unique 3-step approach for allergy treatment and testing.