Stop Fearing Food Allergies!
Food Allergy Doctor in New Orleans
Dr. Reena Mehta is a board-certified food allergy doctor in New Orleans that can help you and your children thrive over food allergies.
“I’m the parent of a son with multiple food allergies. When our son was first diagnosed, my wife and I consulted with multiple nationally know allergists. We were frustrated with the care we received and our lack of progress. We were then referred to Dr. Mehta who has been a godsend…Since our son has been seeing Dr. Mehta, he’s overcome several of his food allergies. There really is nothing like being able to eat out at restaurants with your child after packing all of his meals for a year.“
– Ravi Legha, 19-month old son Gavin, December 2018
An allergic reaction to a certain food occurs when your immune system overreacts to a particular protein found in that food. Most food allergies are triggered by:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree Nuts
A food allergy can be life-threatening, so individuals with food allergies must be very careful to avoid their food triggers. Food allergies are usually diagnosed in young children, but they may also appear in older children and adults. A food allergies doctor can help identify, test, diagnose, and help you thrive over the allergy.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Sometimes food reactions are caused by being allergic to a similar protein found in something else. For example, if you are allergic to birch tree pollen, you may have reactions triggered by peaches, apples, pears, kiwi, plum coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, and carrots. This is called oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also known as pollen fruit syndrome (PFS).
Allergy or Intolerance?
If you suspect that you have a food allergy, it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis from a food allergy specialist. Symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy can be similar, so individuals often suspect that they or their children have an allergy to a certain food when they actually have a food intolerance, or vise versa. This distinction is important because allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
A food reaction normally occurs within minutes of eating the trigger food, but symptoms may also appear a few hours later. The most telling signs of a food allergy are:
- Hives or red itchy skin
- Stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing or itchy, teary eyes
- Vomiting, stomach cramps, or diarrhea
- Swelling, also called angioedema
When a reaction to an allergy is especially severe it is called anaphylaxis. In some cases, a food allergy can cause anaphylaxis. Signs of a severe reaction include:
- Hoarseness, throat tightening, or a lump in the throat
- Wheezing, chest tightness, or trouble breathing
- Tingling in the hands, feet, lips or scalp
If you or your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately or go to the nearest emergency department.
The first step to overcoming a food reaction is to receive a proper diagnosis from a food allergy testing doctor. Dr. Mehta can help you identify the foods you’re allergic to so you can learn to live comfortably with your food allergies.
Skin & Blood Tests
Following a detailed medical history, your allergist will typically order skin and/or blood tests to help determine what is causing the reactions.
There are steps you can take to minimize exposure to trigger foods and effectively manage reactions if they occur to foods you’re sensitive to. Be sure to discuss any medications with your food allergy doctor prior to using them.
Avoid Trigger Foods
The most important part of managing food allergies is carefully avoiding trigger foods (foods you’re sensitive to). If you’ve been diagnosed with a food allergy or an oral allergy syndrome, be sure to read food labels, always ask about ingredients when eating at restaurants, or when eating foods prepared by family or friends.
Antihistamines might help relieve symptoms in cases of milder food reactions.
If you have severe allergic reactions to food, be sure to complete an anaphylaxis action plan and carry your autoinjectable epinephrine with you at all times in case of a severe reaction.
Your food allergy doctor may also perform an oral food challenge in the office, in which you are exposed to increasing amounts of a suspected food trigger to confirm an allergy, or prove that you have outgrown an allergy.
Oral immunotherapy (OIT) is an emerging treatment in which gradually increasing amounts of an allergen are fed to an individual with food allergies. The goal of OIT is to increase the amount of exposure to an allergen that the individual can tolerate. For example, someone with a peanut allergy may be given a very small amount of peanut protein to build up a tolerance to peanuts over time.
Oral immunothrapy is still under FDA review to determine optimal dosing, and to ensure that it is safe and effective before being made available to the public.
See a Food Allergy Specialist in New Orleans
If food allergies are complicating your life, see a food allergy specialist in New Orleans, LA. Doctor Mehta has a reputation for developing strong relationships with her patients and being exceptionally attentive to their needs and concerns.
Call us anytime, M-F, 8am-5pm.
Saturday appointments available upon request.
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