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.
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Medical content reviewed by: Dr. Susan Waserman, MSc, MD, FRCPC, and Dr. Julia Upton, MD, FRCP(C) Clinical Immunology and Allergy
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