Common Food Allergies That Trigger Asthma


All those who are allergic to certain types of foods may not develop asthma on such food ingestion.  There is a wide discrepancy between percep­tions of patients and physicians regarding food allergy. Food allergy is often erroneously blamed for a variety of conditions, including asthma. The most common foods that genuinely cause asthma are eggs, peanuts, milk, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish The time between ingestion and onset of wheezing is usually from minutes to hours. In most of the cases, the amount of food required to induce symptoms is quite small. Foods that convincingly induce symp­toms upon ingestion should be avoided. When the diagnosis is in question and skin tests are negative, a double-blind food challenge test may be indicated to refute the diagnosis of food allergy.


Adults who have asthma and food allergies usually have a history of childhood eczema or hay fever. Adults are more likely to be allergic to nuts and sea foods. Many adult asthmatics are sensitive to the chemicals in beer and wine.


The principles used in the diagnosing of inhalant allergies are employed when searching for food allergies, but making a diagnosis of food allergy is often more difficult, as allergy food tests can be unreliable. The patient’s clinical history is of the utmost importance. The patient may be asked to keep a careful symptom diary or follow strict elimination diets. When a cer­tain food is suspected of inducing clinical symptoms, a careful food challenge may be indicated if the initial reaction was not serious or life threatening.

Once a specific food has been identified as an asthma trigger, the treatment is avoidance. Patients with asthma and food allergies should be aware that all foods belong to food groups or food families. An allergy to one member of a specific food family often means that other members of the same food family may also cause an allergic reaction. Food-sensitive asthmatics should not experiment with food groups without the approval of their doctor or an allergy specialist. They should also consult their physician, nutrition center, or local library for a complete list of foods and food families.





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