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My 62 year old father has an allergy which could not be identified by the allergist despite the large number of tests. First, it happened when we ate together at a Chinese restaurant. Toward the end of the meal, his upper lip started to swallow lightly, followed by and swallowing of the left jaw. The symptoms disappeared few days later after taking anti-histamine, but appear from time to time, about once a month, less intense than the first time, and we do not know what foods provide this allergy. We excluded soy and sesame seeds, nuts, and peanuts because he was tested for these foods and he had no adverse reaction. What is your opinion?

Hello there,

It is difficult to diagnose an allergy that a specialist could not despite adequate medical means available.

It would have been useful if you told me if there are any members in your family with other allergies, and if your father had any similar experiences before, or if he has any diagnosed condition.

Based on the fact that your father’s allergy occured after eacting Chinese food, which is excessively spicey, it might be a specific ingredient that triggered the allergy. Avoiding that ingredient might be useful. It was important to note the menu that evening, and other menus when the symptoms occured.

You did not mention any polen allergy. Another direction involves the oral allergy syndrome, when a person allergic to polen exhibits symptoms such as rash, redness, and swalloing of the lips and mouth when eating fruits or vegetable containing a proteine responsible for reactions when combined with polen.

Considering that the reactions occured locally and their intensity dimished with each new episode, it is possibil the reactions will disappear in time, as it is the case with many food allergies.

My advice is to monitor closely your father’s diet and write down in a journal the foods he eats, even though this may take several months. Try to repeat the menus that determined the previous episodes.

If you notice any association between a food or category of foods with the the symptoms, try to avoid those foods. If the symptoms don’t occur, try reintroduce the food to reconfirm your suspicion.

Best wishes!

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