Common Signs of Food Allergies

  • 4 months   ago

The human body commonly displays an adverse response to a particular food, and when it is triggered by an immune system reaction to a protein in that food, this is an evident food allergy. Reactions to a food allergy may range from mild to extreme. However, all food allergies can be diagnosed by an allergy doctor and managed with diligence and mindful food consumption. Kathryn Edwards MD, leading allergy doctor in Princeton, NJ, goes in-depth with signs, symptoms of different types of allergies, including those related to food. Typical signs of several categories of food allergies are discussed below.


Not to be confused with lactose intolerance, an allergy to milk—most often cow’s milk—occurs frequently in children. Signs immediately after digestion may include hives, wheezing, itching or tingling around the lips or mouth, swelling, coughing or shortness of breath. Those with a severe allergy can also experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening, choking-like response without emergency medical attention.

Egg allergy symptoms present similarly, with skin reactions, digestive and respiratory issues, and an increase in heart rate reported. As with a milk allergy, anaphylactic shock may occur in rare cases. Signs of an egg allergy can manifest as young as 6-15 months, but an egg allergy typically resolves before school age. This is the most prevalent food allergy among children, although dairy allergies may be carried into or not developed until adulthood. 


Medical News Today describes the signs of a wheat allergy as “breathing difficulties, nausea, hives, bloated stomach, and an inability to focus. In some people, anaphylaxis can occur. Symptoms may develop within minutes of wheat consumption or by even the inhalation of wheat flour. Signs of a wheat allergy may develop in sufferers who are cautious consumers, as wheat protein can be found in a wide variety of food products, such as sauces and condiments (e.g., soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup), pasta, ice cream, cereal, beer, and numerous baked goods. 


Although a peanut allergy may be the most common nut allergy, tree nuts (e.g., almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts) may also cause an allergic reaction. Oftentimes, if a person is allergic to one nut, he or she is allergic to another type of nut. Unlike dairy and wheat, nuts can be relatively easy to avoid. They are most often utilized in baked goods, candy, and other sweets, but nuts are also in types of butter, oils, and in many international recipes. Healthline reports that the mild signs of a nut allergy include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and itchy or watery eyes. A few hours after consuming nuts, nausea, cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea may occur, as may extreme throat swelling in severe instances. While many food allergies resolve themselves in time, signs of a nut allergy may manifest after consumption for a lifetime. 


 A corn allergy is far less common than other food allergies; however, the signs can be more immediate and, as such, develop into severe symptoms. Web MD lists the following allergic reactions to corn: hives or a rash, nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, trouble breathing, and rarely, anaphylaxis, which as mentioned above can be fatal. One of the best ways to prevent the manifestation of corn allergy signs is to avoid processed foods, which frequently contain corn. Oddly enough, corn may even be found in some toiletries, such as toothpaste and shampoo.


 Another less common food allergy is an allergy to meat from any kind of mammal (e.g., beef, pork, or lamb). As with most food allergies, signs can range from mild to severe, including anaphylaxis. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology provides the typical symptoms of a meat allergy: vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, wheezing, difficulty breathing, incessant coughing, throat tightening and hoarseness, a weak pulse, and paleness or blue coloring of the skin. Fortunately, these symptoms are as easily avoided as eating meat. 


Despite the rarity of occurrence (only 1% of the population having seafood allergy), signs can be more immediate and severe than those of other food allergies, such as extreme difficulty with breathing, an abrupt drop in blood pressure, shock, loss of consciousness, and sudden death.

Regardless of the type, food allergies are easily diagnosed by an allergist through a skin prick test or blood test, if not by the simple process of a food elimination diet. Common sense is the most useful aid in treatment, as the most effective means of combatting the signs of food allergies is to avoid any food you are allergic to. Of course, this is not always possible, in which case, be sure to have EpiPens (injectable epinephrine) on hand, and if necessary, head to your nearest emergency room like your or your loved one’s life depends on it.