Food Allergy Symptoms
Food allergy or food intolerance affects nearly everyone at some point. When
people have an unpleasant reaction to something they ate, they often think that
they have an allergy to the food. In fact, one out of three people say that some
member of their family has an allergy to food that has necessitated a change in
their diet. Actually, however, only about 1% of adults and 3% of children have
clinically proven allergic reactions to food.
Food intolerance also is an abnormal response to food, and its symptoms can
resemble those of food allergy. Food intolerance, however, is far more
prevalent, occurs in a variety of diseases, and is triggered by several
different mechanisms that are distinct from the immunological reaction
responsible for food allergy.
Listed below are some fast facts about food allergy symptoms:
- All of the symptoms of food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour
- A food allergy can initially be experienced as an itching in the mouth and
difficulty swallowing and breathing.
- During digestion of the food in the stomach and intestines, symptoms such
as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain can start. (Incidentally,
gastrointestinal symptoms are those that are most often confused with the
symptoms of different types of food intolerance.)
- When the allergens reach the skin, they can induce hives or eczema, and
when they reach the lungs, they can cause asthma.
- As the allergens travel through the blood vessels, they can cause
lightheadedness, weakness, and anaphylaxis, which is a sudden drop in blood
pressure. Anaphylactic reactions are severe even when they start off with
mild symptoms, such as a tingling in the mouth and throat or discomfort in
the abdomen. They can be fatal if not treated quickly.
For more, please read the Food Allergy
Last Editorial Review: 7/6/2004