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Food allergy

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Many people experience reactions to foods but food allergy is only the cause in a small number of reactions. 

Most adults who have a food allergy have problems with shellfish, fruits, vegetables or nuts. 

The most common type of food allergy in adults happens when people allergic to tree pollen eat raw fruits or vegetables. This is called oral allergy syndrome or pollen food syndrome. 

Milk and wheat rarely cause food allergy in adults, but are often thought to be a trigger of food intolerance.

Attending the clinic

When you come to the food allergy clinic, we try to make it a one-stop shop, so when we first meet you we spend a long time asking detailed questions about your symptoms and which foods you think are causing the problem. This helps us build a picture of what is happening and what might be causing it.

Sometimes this information is all we need to make a diagnosis. However, we will usually need to do some further testing. We only use tests which are validated and approved for food allergy testing. They will usually be part of your first appointment and may include a skin prick test or a specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood test. We also have access to molecular allergy testing, which is the most advanced method of testing for a food allergy. 

Sometimes the history of reactions and these tests are enough for us to decide whether you have a food allergy. The final test we might need to do is called an oral food challenge. This test is not suitable or necessary for everyone but it is often needed to be able to give a final diagnosis. 

Allergy management

If you have a food allergy, we will give you written information and advice on how to manage it and what to take if you have a reaction. If we feel it is more likely your symptoms are caused by a food intolerance, we will provide you with some written dietary advice to avoid those foods or food components which we feel best fit with your symptom pattern. 

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121


Read about the allergy clinics held by the Trust