Food Allergies | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of food allergy?

The most common immediate symptoms of food allergy include the following:

  • Hives (large bumps on the skin)
  • Swelling
  • Itchy skin
  • Itchiness or tingling in the mouth
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Coughing, trouble breathing or wheezing
  • Throat tightness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

The person may also feel that something bad is going to happen, have pale skin because of low blood pressure or lose consciousness. The most common chronic illnesses associated with food allergies are eczema and asthma.

Food allergy can be fatal if it is severe enough to cause a reaction called anaphylaxis (say: "anna-phil-ax-iss"). This reaction blocks the airways and makes it hard for a person to breathe. Fast treatment with a medicine called epinephrine (say: "epp-in-eff-rin") can save your life. If you or your child has a severe allergy, your doctor might give you a prescription for epinephrine self-injection pens. Your doctor can show you how and when to use the pen. If your doctor thinks you might need to use this medicine, you'll need to carry one with you at all times.

A person having an allergic reaction should be taken by ambulance to a hospital emergency room, because the amount of adrenaline being pumped into the body can be dangerous. A doctor can provide epinephrine to help slow down a person's blood circulation, breathing and metabolism.

Source

Manifestations of Food Allergy: Evaluation and Management by SH Sicherer, M.D. (American Family Physician January 15, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990115ap/415.html)

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00

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