Patients who believe they may have a food allergy can find specialized care through any of our three allergy and immunology clinics, where our board-certified allergists and immunologists will work to determine what is causing your reaction. When a patient eats an allergy-causing food, it may trigger symptoms such as stomach upset, hives, swollen face, wheezing or anaphylaxis (shock).

Our patients range in age from toddlers to adults. They can be self-referred, referred by another physician or referred by an emergency department where they may have sought help after experiencing acute symptoms.

Whether a patient is discovering a food allergy for the first time or curious to know if they have outgrown a food allergy that was diagnosed in childhood, we can provide a comprehensive evaluation and help develop a plan for the patient’s specific needs.

Once a food allergy is identified, the only current treatment in most cases is to avoid that particular food and to be prepared to treat a reaction in the event of an accidental exposure. However, for those who have a peanut allergy, there may be a treatment available to reduce reactivity.

Common food allergies include but are not limited to:

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

These allergies often present in childhood, but can also be acquired later at any age. A lesser known allergy to mammalian meat, called Alpha-gal allergy, is increasingly being recognized in certain geographic areas including Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. This allergy causes patients to have a reaction after eating beef, pork or lamb, and patients present with symptoms such as hives, itching, vomiting and/or anaphylaxis. It can develop at any age and has been found to have a possible association with tick bites. As mammalian products are also found in medications and cosmetics, this allergy goes beyond food and is now thought of as a syndrome.

Maya Jerath, MD, PhD, clinical director for the Division of Allergy and Immunology, has a special interest in food allergies, particularly Alpha-gal syndrome. Dr. Jerath sees patients at all three clinic locations and treats all allergy-related conditions.