Allergy New Zealand is a national membership-based, not-for-profit society whose primary role is to provide information, education, and support to the many thousands of New Zealanders living with allergies, including those at risk of anaphylaxis.
They also represent their interests particularly to government, policy makers and the media, provide information and guidance to the health, education and food sectors, and support research.
Allergy New Zealand also has excellent information regarding Food Allergens specificlly.
"A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. In some cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms, called anaphylaxis, either by breathing difficulties and/or a sudden drop in blood pressure".
If you suffer from Food Allergies we highly reccomend you visit the Allergy New Zealand website.
Most allergic individuals manage their food allergy by avoiding the food that triggers the reaction. Even small amounts of the offending food can cause serious reactions in susceptible individuals.
If you, or your child, are diagnosed with a food allergy you should talk to your doctor about what you can eat. Some people with a food allergy should avoid all sources of that food, while other people can tolerate a small amount of the food allergen, especially if it is cooked.
Research suggests children have a better chance of growing out of a food allergy if they completely avoid the food. To find out whether you are still allergic or have grown out of an allergy, you can be re-tested.
Symptoms of a food allergy range from mild discomfort to severe or life-threatening reactions requiring immediate medical attention. Symptoms include:
Skin problems – hives, eczema, swelling, itching
Respiratory problems – sneezing, asthma, difficulty breathing, cough
Gastrointestinal – swelling and itching of the lips and mouth, vomiting, reflux, colic, diarrhoea, cramps
Circulation problems – low blood pressure, dizziness
Anaphylactic shock – a severe reaction affecting one or more organ systems, for example respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. Swelling of the airways, drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing are some of the more serious symptoms.
Your doctor or specialist will want your reaction history and will probably do a physical examination. There are also tests to help identify a food allergy.How do you get diagnosed - Allergy NZ Website
Health professionals that can help are
General practitioner (GP) or family doctor
Allergy specialist or paediatrician. You'll need a referral from your GP unless you are in Auckland or Christchurch where there are private allergy specialists
Dietitian. To see a public hospital dietitian requires a referral from your GP. Otherwise see a private dietitian.