Food Allergies

Eastside Medical Associates

Amy Lichtenfeld, MD

Board Certified Allergist-Immunologist & Internist located in Manhattan, New York, NY

About 4% of the population suffers from food allergies, which may result in life-threatening anaphylaxis. Upper East Side, New York City allergist-immunologist and internal medicine physician Dr. Amy Lichtenfeld, offers food allergy testing and treatment to her patients — from teenagers to mature adults — at Eastside Medical Associates. If you suspect you may have a food allergy, don’t hesitate to call or book an appointment online.

Food Allergies Q & A

What are food allergies?

Food allergies occur when your body has an abnormal immune response to certain foods. While allergic reactions may be mild, they can still negatively affect your quality of life. In rare cases, food allergies may trigger a severe, life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

What foods might I be allergic to?

Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but the following foods are responsible for about 90% of food allergies:

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

Other common triggers include sesame and mustard seeds.

How do I know if I have a food allergy?

You may have a food allergy if you experience any of these signs and symptoms after eating a trigger food:

  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tongue swelling
  • Weak pulse
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Anaphylaxis

Symptoms typically come on within two hours of eating the food, and often within minutes. Rarely, it can take up to six hours to experience signs and symptoms of a food allergy.

Sometimes, you may experience an itchy mouth or throat after eating raw fruits or vegetables. This is a sign that you may have a food-pollen allergy and doesn’t necessarily mean you need to completely avoid that food.

The only way to be sure you’re allergic to a certain food is to see Dr. Lichtenfeld for allergy testing.  

How do you diagnose and treat food allergies?

First, Dr. Lichtenfeld performs a physical exam and reviews your symptoms and medical history. She may ask questions about the types of foods you eat when you notice an allergic reaction.

If the cause of your food allergy isn’t obvious, Dr. Lichtenfeld may take an allergy test. This may involve a skin prick test or a blood test. During a skin prick test, she places a very small drop of liquid containing a certain allergen onto your skin and then pricks it lightly. This test is safe and generally not painful.

If a small bump appears on your skin within 15-20 minutes, it indicates you’re probably allergic to that food. Then, Dr. Lichtenfeld works with you to develop an individualized treatment plan, which may include:

  • Avoiding food triggers
  • Carefully reading ingredients on food labels
  • Carrying emergency epinephrine in case of anaphylaxis
  • Individualized medication regimen

For your convenience, Dr. Lichtenfeld offers allergy consultations and testing on the same day.

To find out if you have food allergies, call Dr. Amy Lichtenfeld or book an appointment online today.