All You Need To Know About Food Allergies

What is a food allergy? How would you know if you have a food allergy? What causes an allergic reaction and how can you prevent it? What are some of the food allergens you should avoid? These are the common questions that people do ask everyday, we have brought the complete information for you.

Food Allergy

This is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after consuming a certain food. Fructose or lactose intolerance is often confused with an allergy. A food allergic reaction occurs between a few minutes to two hours after consuming the food you are allergic to. Some food allergies like wheat may cause slight discomfort while for others, you will have to be strict with your diet.

Symptoms of Food Allergy

The symptoms of a food allergy may vary from mild to severe. They include:

  • The tongue and mouth swell
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or nasal congestion
  • Severe itching, hives, or eczema
  • Pimples and redness around the mouth
  • Running nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Sneezing
  • Nausea


Anaphylactic shock is a type of food allergic reaction that stops circulation.  If left untreated, it can lead to coma or even death. They cause life-threatening symptoms like:

  • Rapid pulse.
  • Tightening and constriction of the airways.
  • A lump sensation on the throat makes breathing difficult.
  • Shock with a severe drop in blood pressure.
  • Loss of consciousness or dizziness.

Causes of Allergy:

The body protects itself by attacking foreign substances. The protein components in food are viewed as a foreign substance that may be a source of danger. The immune system releases an antibody known as an immunoglobulin (IgE) to combat the alleged danger. The IgE antibodies are triggered to release histamine and other chemicals the next time you eat or taste that food. These chemicals cause unpleasant allergy symptoms.

Risk Factors

a. Family history

If eczema, hives, asthma, or allergies are common in your family, you are at an increased risk of food allergies.

b. Age

Infants and children are mostly affected by allergies. As the digestive system matures when one grows or gets older, the body fails to absorb food that may trigger allergies.

c. Other allergies

If you are already allergic to one food, chances are you are at an increased risk of being allergic to different food.

Food Allergens:

These are the naturally occurring proteins present in food or its derivatives that cause an allergic reaction. The most common food allergens in infants and children are:

  • Chicken eggs.
  • Cow’s milk.
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Peanuts and hazelnuts.

Common food allergens for adolescents and adults include:

  • Raw fruit
  • Raw vegetable
  • Wheat
  • Cow’s milk
  • Shellfish
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnut
  • Crustaceans

How To Prevent Food Allergies:

  1. Avoid smoking tobacco as its smoke promotes allergy and asthma.
  2. Infants should be breastfed exclusively for the first four months and a hypoallergenic diet used for babies who can’t be adequately breastfed. The baby should be introduced to new food step by step as recommended by the pediatricians.
  3. Avoid keeping pets if both parents are suffering from allergies. This may increase the risk of kids developing allergies.
  4. Ensure proper ventilation. Mold can be a cause of allergy and it thrives in badly ventilated rooms.


Food allergy is an unpleasant reaction of the immune system after a certain food is consumed. The prevalence of food allergy is increasing and is more in children than adults. To manage food allergies, you should avoid food allergens and treat accidental exposures with medication. Certain allergens are commonly known to cause allergies in either children or adults. Symptoms of food allergy should help you know if you are allergic to a certain type of food and hence seek early treatment.

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