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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Can I Experience Anaphylaxis by Touching a Food I'm Allergic To?

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Question
Can someone experience anaphylaxis by coming into contact with a food allergen? Or is anaphylaxis only the result of actual consumption?
Answer
Rarely, patients with food allergies can experience anaphylaxis after their food allergen touches the skin. Anaphylactic reactions can occur through different ways.
  • Consuming the food allergen. Eating the food allergen is the most common type of exposure for anaphylaxis.
  • Exposure by inhalation. This happens when the food allergen becomes airborne, from cooking and steaming. It is uncommon for people to have reactions from this type of exposure.
  • Topical or skin exposure. This exposure can trigger a reaction. They are rare and typically local reactions.
Categories
Anaphylaxis, Food Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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