Symptoms of food allergy – An overview

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology over 50 million of Americans suffer from some kind of allergy. As estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 4 to 6 percent of children and 4 percent of the grownups are affected by food allergies. Symptoms of food allergy though common in the babies and the children, these may even develop at any age and without giving any sign that the food you have been consuming for so many years are now responsible for causing food allergies. This article aims to give a brief account of the symptoms of allergies caused by foods.

Symptoms of food allergy

Nature of food allergy

Studies reveal that food allergies tend to run in families but it cannot be predicted if a child will inherit the food allergies of the parents or whether the siblings will also have food allergies.

The symptoms of food allergy

While food allergy symptoms can vary from mild to severe in different individuals and for the same individual at different times. In general the following signs and symptoms are associated with the most common food allergy that is known as an IgE-mediated food allergy.

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, mouth or other parts of the body
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Nasal congestion wheezing or breathing trouble
  • Hives, eczema
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting

FPIES or food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome is also one of the symptoms of food allergy in infants. It generally occurs between 2 to 6 hours of taking certain grains, milk and other solid foods and involves repetitive vomiting that can lead to dehydration.

Non-IgE mediated food allergy symptoms include itchy red rashes, heartburn & indigestion, presence of blood & mucus in the stool and these symptoms of food allergy in babies are associated with excessive and inconsolable crying. Constipation is also one of the symptoms of food allergy in child. Children having milk allergy are like to experience the same.

The most critical of all symptoms of food allergy in adults is anaphylaxis. In such cases the allergic reaction becomes so severe that it can dramatically bring down the blood pressure to an extremely low level, affect the heart rate, and cause serious breathing trouble. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and can be felt within a few minutes of exposure to the trigger food. It can turn to be fatal if not treated promptly.

Pollen-food allergy syndrome which is also called oral allergy syndrome (OAS) may cause swelling of the throat and in extreme case anaphylaxis. These are caused by the proteins present in the fruits and vegetables. Taking cooked fruits and vegetable help to avoid such allergy reactions.

Some people also experience being lightheaded and itchy doing exercises after taking certain foods. These exercise induced symptoms of food allergy can also cause hives and anaphylaxis in some persons. Avoiding the trigger foods and not eating a couple of hours before workout helps to avoid such allergies.

Symptoms of food poisoning

The symptoms of food poisoning vary with the type of food consumed and may start within hours of eating and can last from a few hours to days. These may include any or all of nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever.

Symptoms of food intolerance

These are in fact difficulties in digesting some type of foods and not to be mistaken as symptoms of food allergy. Food intolerance symptoms take longer time for showing up than food allergies.

Bottom Line

Early detection of allergies is a must for proper treatment and, therefore, one should immediately consult a doctor if any of the symptoms come up.


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