A food allergy is a serious medical condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly targets a food protein (called an allergen) and attacks it. Reactions to a food allergen can be mild to severe, and in some cases, life-threatening. Symptoms can include hives, swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, nausea/vomiting, sneezing, and runny nose. The worst severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, where allergic symptoms affect multiple areas of the body. If not treated quickly, anaphylaxis can lead to death. Children and adults with severe food allergies should carry an unexpired epinephrine auto-injector (Epi-Pen, Auvi-Q, Adrenaclick) at all times.
While any food has the potential to cause an allergic reaction, 8 foods are responsible for approximately 90% of food allergies. These foods include Eggs, Wheat, Shellfish, Fish, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, and Milk.
There is no cure for food allergies; the only treatment is strictly avoiding foods to which you are allergic. Even with strict avoidance, it is possible to come in contact with allergens, through cross-contamination or contact with another person. This is why it is extremely important to carry an auto-injector with you at all times if you have a potentially life-threatening food allergy.
If your child has a food allergy and requires special meal accommodations at school, please fill out the applicable forms here.