What Are The Symptoms Of A Food Allergy?


A food allergy nearly always produces immediate symptoms and may be life-threatening. A food allergy is quite different to a food intolerance (see what is a food allergy?).

Signs Of A Food Allergy

The most common type of food reaction is known as an IgE-mediated food allergy (IgE is an allergy antibody). Signs of this type of allergy include:

- Symptoms appear within seconds or minutes after eating the food.
- Itching or tingling of the mouth.
- Hives, itchy red rash (technically called urticaria)
- Swelling of the mouth or face (angioedema), or swelling in other parts of the body.
- Feeling sick or vomiting
- Severe tummy pain
- Diarrhea
- Hay fever symptoms like a runny nose and itch eyes
- Problems swallowing
- Shortness of breath or wheezing.

Very Serious Signs

If the above isn't enough, the situation may become even more serious with the onset of anaphylactic shock. Signs of anaphylaxis include:-

- Rapid heartbeat, palpitations (tachycardia)
- Sharp drop in blood pressure which makes you feel dizzy or confused
- Sudden intense feeling of fear and anxiety

If you suffer anaphylaxis, seek emergency medical treatment immediately as your life may be in danger. It can take less than one hour from the onset of symptoms (usually itching) to the final outcome (death). In the early stages of a reaction it may be difficult to tell the difference between anaphylaxis and a panic attack. But those who are having a panic attack are pale and have a slow pulse, where those with anaphylaxis are usually pink in the face and have a fast pulse.

• Got another question? See: Allergy Questions

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