Food Allergies and Intolerances

Food allergies are an immune system reaction affecting numerous organs of the body. Food allergies are the result of the body mistakenly attacking a food protein. The offending food may trigger the release of histamine, resulting in such symptoms as hives, itching, swelling of the tongue and throat, trouble breathing, wheezing, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and death. Symptoms may appear within minutes to hours after the person has been exposed to the allergen.

Diagnosis

A skin prick test or the allergen specific IgE antibody test are commonly used to determine if an allergy exists. The skin prick test can be done in a doctor’s office.

Common 8

The eight foods listed in food allergy labeling account for approximately 90 percent of allergic reactions.

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as cashews, almonds, walnuts)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish (such as crab, shrimp, lobster)
  • Soy
  • Wheat

Treatment

At this time the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the offending food. If a product doesn’t have a label, it is best to avoid eating that food. There is no cure for food allergies.

Epinephrine is used to control severe allergic reactions. It is only available by prescription as a self-injectable device.

Norse Nutrition Tip!

Email Anne Blocker (blocan2@luther.edu), the campus Registered Dietitian, for nutrition questions and support.

Visit Dining Services to work out special food requests.