FACT: There are no markers or measurements to predict the severity of a patient’s allergy. Severity may also vary from reaction to reaction within the same individual.
Many factors can affect reaction severity including the amount eaten, a delay in giving or lack of epinephrine and poor asthma control. Age can also be a factor: youth or teens may have more severe reactions because of risk-taking behaviour with eating and denying their symptoms.
There are also important “co-factors,” such as alcohol, exercise and certain medications, that can influence the severity of food allergic reactions by lowering the threshold for a reaction in some people.
Bottom Line: If you have more than one food allergy, each allergy should be taken as seriously as the others.
Note: Each month on our blog, we are featuring a common myth about food allergies, followed by the facts. Information for this month’s Fact was provided by Dr. Susan Waserman, MSc, MD, FRCPC. Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Allergy and Immunology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.