What are the symptoms of food allergies?

True food allergies are caused by immune system reactions. Most reactions occur within five minutes to one hour after eating the food. Symptoms can be mild such as hives (red, raised, itchy patches of skin), swelling, itchy/watery eyes, and runny nose or sneezing. Severe symptoms (also called anaphylaxis) can include throat swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea, feeling dizzy and passing out. Sometimes severe reactions that are not treated quickly can even lead to death. Symptoms can vary from person to person and can even change with different times a person has exposure to the food he is allergic to. If you suspect you may be having severe allergic symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Symptoms of food allergy reactions could vary. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network "reactions may begin with a tingling sensation, itching, or a metallic taste in the mouth. Other symptoms can include hives, a sensation of warmth, wheezing or other difficulty breathing, coughing, swelling of the mouth and throat area, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms may begin anywhere from several minutes to two hours after eating an offending food, but life-threatening reactions may get worse over a period of several hours. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. The symptoms of anaphylaxis can include any of those associated with an allergic reaction to food."
The symptoms of an allergic reaction to a food range from tingling tongue and lips to abdominal cramps to difficulty breathing and, in the most serious cases, shock. The reaction site and its severity can vary a lot. When there are two or more organ systems are involved or if there's wheezing, then the reaction is considered severe. The reactions may get worse and worse with subsequent exposures. Just because someone has had only mild reactions to a food doesn't mean that the next reaction won't be serious and potentially fatal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.