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Food Allergies

The allergy specialists at UPMC Pinnacle offer diagnostic testing and treatment for children and adults with food allergies.

Why choose UPMC Pinnacle for food allergy treatment?

Our specialists provide comprehensive treatment for food allergies. We offer a full range of diagnostic and treatment services to help you understand and manage your food allergies, including:

Diagnostic Tests for Food Allergies

  • Skin testing. Skin testing, also called scratch testing, exposes your skin to small amounts of allergy-causing substances (allergens) and can identify food allergy triggers, such as peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests measure the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in your blood that are specific to certain allergens. Although blood tests are not as exact as skin tests, your doctor may use them in combination with skin tests to diagnose and treat your allergy.
  • Oral food challenge (OFC). OFC is a test that is used to confirm or rule out a food allergy. During the test, you will eat a small, gradually increasing amount of a suspected allergy-causing food under medical supervision and be monitored for signs of an allergic reaction.

Medications for Food Allergies

  • Allergy medications. Some medications may be able to help control mild allergic reactions to food, but may not be suitable if you have a severe or life-threatening allergy. Before you use any allergy medication, you should ask your doctor if it is right for your condition and symptoms.
  • Epinephrine. If you are at risk of experiencing a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, your doctor may prescribe an injectable emergency medication called epinephrine. Epinephrine is usually given at the first sign of a severe allergic reaction, followed by emergency medical treatment. Your doctor will provide specific information about when and how you should use epinephrine.

Patient Education for Food Allergies

  • Our specialists provide the education and information you need to manage your food allergy, including training on administering emergency medications, developing an allergy action plan, and making recommendations for how you can prevent allergic reactions.

What are food allergies?

Food allergies occur when your body has an immune reaction to a specific food that you come into contact with or ingest. Although there are many types of food allergies, the most common food allergies include:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy

What are the symptoms of food allergies?

Symptoms of food allergies are caused by your body’s immune reaction to the food and can range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms usually occur within a few hours of eating the food and can affect your skin, digestive tract, cardiovascular system, or respiratory tract. Symptoms may include:

  • Hives
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest
  • Hoarse voice, tightness in the throat, or difficulty swallowing as a result of swelling in the throat or tongue

The most serious type of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can occur within minutes and is potentially life-threatening. Anaphylaxis causes dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure and, in some cases, loss of consciousness, shock, or cardiac arrest.

Who is at risk for food allergies?

Food allergies can show up at any age, but they are more common in babies and children. If you have had an allergic reaction to a food in the past, you are more likely to have a similar or more severe reaction if you are exposed to that food in the future.

How can I prevent food allergies?

Although there is nothing you can do to prevent the allergy itself, you may be able to prevent allergic reactions by taking steps to avoid allergy-causing foods and following your doctor’s advice regarding treatment of known food allergies.

Providers

Locations

Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
508 S. Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-334-8171
Fax: 717-334-8172

Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
250 Fame Avenue
Suite 201, (Entrance A)
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-633-9229
Fax: 717-633-5552

UPMC Allergy and Immunology
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
21 Waterford Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-988-9180
Fax: 717-775-5723 

Contact

Need more information?

Many of our providers offer video visits. Call the office or schedule via your patient portal.

Phone: 717-988-9180

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