Food allergies are quite common, but do you know how to identify them? Sara Shah tells you more about the symptoms of food allergies
How often do you hear someone claiming to be allergic to certain food just because they don’t really like how it tastes? While a distaste for a certain types of food can give you a gag reflex, food allergies are about much more than that. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and for some people, they can prove to be life-threatening. Allergies usually occur a minute or two after you consume a certain food item or ingredient that doesn’t blend with your system. In this article, we tell you more about the symptoms of food allergies and the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance.
Food intolerances vs. food allergies
Several symptoms of food intolerance overlap with food allergies, which is why the two terms are often mixed up. But, even though they may sound practically the same, there is a stark difference between the two. While food allergies can be defined as reactions that occur a few minutes after you eat something that might not suit your system, food intolerance occurs more gradually. It could take days or even years to show up and is developed when you have too much of a particular ingredient in a single sitting or if you consume it too frequently. Food intolerances can usually be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a food allergy
When you have food allergies, you should remember that you may or may not experience all the symptoms together. Here’s what you should be watching out for.
While food allergies may have certain symptoms that are discreet enough to go unnoticed, there are a few common symptoms that you can use to identify whether you’re suffering from a food allergy or not. You can identify a food allergy by watching out for the following symptoms:
- An itchy or tingly mouth.
- Overall itching, red hives and active eczema.
- Breathing difficulties, wheezing and nasal congestion.
- Diarrhoea, vomiting, nauseous feelings or abdominal pain.
- Dizziness, fatigue, fainting and lightheadedness.
While the symptoms mentioned above are the most common and least ominous, food allergies can also lead to a more severe reaction called anaphylaxis. If you think that you have the following symptoms (which are severe enough to need medical intervention and could result in a coma or even in some cases be extremely fatal) you could be suffering from an anaphylaxis reaction. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Rapid pulse.
- A lump in your throat or a swollen throat which makes it difficult to breath.
- Dizziness and a loss of conciousness.
- Shock and a major drop in your blood pressure.
- Tightening of your airways.
Common allergy causing foods
Food allergies are caused by proteins that are present in certain types of food. Almost 90% of allergies are caused by foods such as peanuts, eggs, fish, nuts such as walnuts and pecans and shellfish such as lobster, shrimp or crab.