Food Allergy Clinic
If you are being referred to the allergist with a food allergy concern, please remember to bring the food item with you to the appointment.
How Food Allergies Are Diagnosed
The Oral Food Challenge (OFC), also known as a feeding test, is a diagnostic test performed to identify/confirm an allergy to a suspected food allergen under medical supervision.
The oral food challenge test may start by having the patient touch the food item to the lips, or tongue.
Next, the doctor will have the patient eat small amounts of the food item; small portions are unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction. Gradually, the portions will be increased if no reaction occurs.
Food Allergy Treatments
If the Oral Food Challenge test confirms a food allergy, the allergist will discuss food avoidance techniques, and can prescribe medication; most often antihistamines.
Learning to live with a new food allergy may mean your lifestyle will require more planning, an increase in awareness of what you are eating, and what foods or produce you come into contact with. Patients should educate themselves about their allergy while working with our allergist to find a medication that best fits their needs.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Oral Allergy Syndrome(OAS) is an allergy to certain raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, spices and nuts which causes an allergic reaction in the mouth and throat. These allergic reactions happen mostly in people with hay fever, especially spring hay fever, due to birch pollen and ragweed pollen.
Oral Allergy Syndrome is classified by the response of allergic reactions in the mouth, and regions close in proximity. There may be swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, along with watery, itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing.
Handling the raw fruit or vegetable or touching the juice to the lips may cause a rash, itching or swelling where the juice touches the skin. Other symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Sometimes, more severe symptoms can occur, such as vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and, on rare occasions, life threatening reactions with swelling of the throat, wheezing, trouble breathing and anaphylaxis.
Tips on Managing O.A.S
- Oral Allergy Syndrome is caused by raw fruits or vegetables. Once they are cooked or processed, they can usually be eaten.
- You do not need to avoid all raw fruits or vegetables. Avoid only those particular fruits and/or vegetables which have caused allergic reactions.
- If you do have Oral Allergy Syndrome to certain foods, you may still be at risk of developing allergies to other foods.
- If an allergic reaction occurs with any food, stop eating it immediately. Mild allergic reactions may be treated with antihistamines. Severe reactions may happen if you continue consuming that food item.
- If you have had severe symptoms including trouble breathing when eating the food item in question, you may need to carry injectable medication with you to treat these reactions (e.g., EpiPen®).
- For mild Oral Allergy Syndrome, try peeling the fruit, or eating unripe or partially ripe fruits, or picking them directly from the tree so that they are quite fresh. If you react, do not keep eating the food.
- Microwaving briefly to a temperature of 80-90 degrees Celcius may allow you to eat the food if it is a mild allergy.
- Nuts which cause Oral Allergy Syndrome should be avoided altogether, fresh or cooked. They carry with them a substantially higher risk of inducing severe reactions.
- Allergy shots for hay fever may sometimes help with associated food allergies.
*For more detailed information regarding Oral Allergy Syndrome, please see Patient Resources