Food allergy is characterized by symptoms which can be both mild and severe. While mild symptoms include itchiness, severe symptoms may include loss of consciousness and even coma. Sometimes, symptoms for certain conditions are also mistaken for food allergy symptoms. This article will take a look at the mild and severe allergy symptoms and certain conditions the symptoms of which are similar to those of food allergy.
Food Allergy: Signs and Symptoms
- Eczema, itching, hives
- Itching or tingling sensations in the mouth
- Trouble in breathing, nasal congestion and wheezing
- Fainting, lightheadedness, dizziness
- Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- Swelling in the throat, tongue, face, lips or in other body parts
While some reactions are mild, some reactions of food allergy might be life threatening as well. These severe reactions are known as anaphylaxis and include
- Tightening or constriction of airways
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid pulse
- Difficulty in breathing which may be owing to the sensation of lump in throat or a swollen throat.
- A drop in blood pressure
These severe reactions require emergency treatment as they can prove life threatening.
Food Allergy Following Exercise
Sometimes exercise following consumption of food has also been noticed to trigger food allergy. Exercising after eating certain foods can lead to a feeling of lightheadedness as well as itchiness. Among the serious outcomes of this is anaphylaxis and hives. The simplest way to prevent this type of food allergy is to avoid exercising right after a meal.
Hay Fever and Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome
For people suffering from hay fever, certain spices, nuts, vegetables and fruits can cause an allergic reaction which may lead to symptoms like itching or tingling in the mouth. Similarly, pollen food allergy syndrome, also known as oral allergy syndrome, can result in severe allergic symptoms like anaphylaxis and throat swelling.
Both these conditions can be understood in the perspective of cross reactivity. Since the proteins which are found in certain vegetables and fruits are similar to proteins found in pollens which can cause allergy, they may also cause an allergic reaction. A way to prevent this allergy is consuming vegetables and fruits once they have been cooked as it greatly reduces cross reactivity.
Conditions Which May Appear Similar To Food Allergy
Conditions which cause symptoms that are similar to those of food allergy include:
Celiac disease is chronic digestive condition caused by gluten consumption. Though this condition also involves an immune system reaction, it is more complex than food allergy.
Histamine toxicity may produce symptoms which are similar to those of food allergy. However, it can’t be categorized as food allergy.
In some cases, food poisoning is also mistaken for food allergy.
Food Additives Sensitivity
Some individuals, following the consumption of food additives, experience symptoms similar to food allergy.
Absence of Enzyme Needed For Digestion
Absence of the enzyme which helps fully digest certain foods can also cause symptoms which are similar to those of food allergy.
When to Consult Your Doctor for Food Allergy
If you experience any of these food allergy symptoms, consult a doctor right away. The best time to consult your doctor is when the allergic reaction is occurring as the doctor will be able to make the diagnosis as well as suggest proper treatment. If you encounter any of the following symptoms, seek emergency treatment right away.
- Rapid pulse
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Difficulty in breathing
- Significant drop in blood pressure.
Whether you experience mild or severe food allergy symptoms, it is recommended that you visit your doctor at the earliest for treatment and future prevention.