Oftentimes, the signs and symptoms of a food allergy usually develop within a few seconds or minutes after consuming a particular food. Some develop a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) that can be life-threatening.
The most prevalent type of allergic reaction to food is the IgE-mediated food allergy which has the following symptoms:
- Itching or tingling sensation in the mouth
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- An elevated, itchy red rash (urticaria)
- Swollen of the mouth, face or other parts of the body
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling lightheaded and dizzy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or abdominal pain
- Symptoms similar to hay fever such as itchy eyes or sneezing
What is anaphylaxis?
The indications of a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis can be abrupt and often becomes worse rapidly. The initial symptoms of anaphylaxis are often the same and can lead to the following:
- Increased breathing difficulties such as coughing and wheezing
- Abrupt and intense feeling of fear and anxiety
- Rapid heart rate
- Sudden and drastic drop in the blood pressure that can make the individual feel confused and lightheaded
- Loss of consciousness
Always bear in mind that anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Without prompt treatment, it can be life-threatening in which it can lead to death. Once an individual is suspected of experiencing this reaction, immediate emergency care is required. A vital measure is to administer a shot of adrenaline or epinephrine. Those who have previous episodes are prescribed with an auto-injector epinephrine that must be used in case of a suspected allergic reaction.
What is a non-IgE medicated food allergy?
Non-IgE mediated food allergy is another form of allergic reaction. The symptoms usually take a longer time to develop, reaching up to several days. Take note that some of the symptoms might be the same with an allergic reaction such as itchiness and redness of the skin (urticaria) and even atopic eczema.
The other symptoms are less evident and might be oftentimes caused by another condition other than an allergy such as the following:
- Indigestion and heartburn
- Frequent or loose stools
- Mucus and blood in the stools
- Among infants, there is excessive and inconsolable crying
- Unusually pale skin
- Reddening of the anus, rectum and genitals
- Failure to grow at the usual rate
Some children can end up with a mixed reaction where both IgE and non-IgE symptoms can occur. In such cases, the child can end up with both swelling and constipation. Take note that this often occurs among children who have milk allergy.
What is exercise-induced food allergy?
In some circumstances, a food allergy can be instigated after consuming a certain food and then exercising strenuously after. Take note that this can lead to anaphylaxis in severe cases which is oftentimes called as food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis.