Perhaps this has happened to you: you're eating a snack and suddenly your mouth starts to itch or burn. Maybe your lips become swollen or you break out in hives. If you've had this unfortunate experience, it's possible you have a food allergy. Experiencing a food allergy can be alarming and uncomfortable, especially if you were previously unaware of it. Allergies can develop at any time, so this allergy may even be new. Here are four steps you can take when trying to identify a new food allergy:
1. Try to narrow down the foods responsible.
It may not be possible to figure out exactly what caused your allergic reaction, but you can try to narrow it down. Make a list of everything you ate before you had your reaction. According to Food Allergy Research & Education, it can take up to two hours for allergy symptoms to start after you introduce an allergen into your system. Write down everything you've had to eat in the last two hours and save the list for your doctor.
2. Don't try to test your allergies on your own.
It may be tempting to experiment on your own to find the food responsible, but this can lead to disastrous results. Allergic reactions can get stronger over time, and you may end up with an anaphylactic reaction. Try to avoid any foods you think might have caused your symptoms until you can see a doctor.
3. Make an appointment with your doctor.
As long as your allergy symptoms go away promptly, you don't need to seek immediate medical help. However, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your developing allergies. Your doctor may want to perform a few blood tests to check on your overall health and make sure no underlying conditions contributed to your symptoms. They may also refer you to a specialist who can conduct a more thorough allergy test.
4. Visit an allergist.
Allergists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies. They can perform an allergy test on you to help you figure out what caused your allergic reaction. In order to do this, they will ask you to remove your shirt. They will draw a grid on your back and use small needles to introduce different allergens into each square of the grid. You'll need to lie still for up to half an hour to allow your body to produce a histamine response. After the time is up, your allergist will read the results and tell you what foods you're allergic to. They may even find that you're allergic to other common allergens, which is helpful information for you to know.
Contact a company like Ashburn Allergy today for more information.