What are some common signs and symptoms of a food allergy?

Most food allergies have the same signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Itching or swelling around your mouth, lips, tongue, or throat (angioedema). This is caused by blood vessels becoming leaky, and allowing fluid to leak into tissues. A swelling like this in the throat or the back of the tongue can obstruct air flow and so can stop you getting oxygen into your body. This can be fatal.
  • Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or bloating. This is caused by reactions happening in your gut where your immune system has encountered a chemical in the food it perceives to be dangerous.
  • Skin reactions – such as eczema, or urticaria (hives).

In addition, there is a risk of anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening reaction where the blood vessels in your body become wider, leading to a low blood pressure and a fast heart rate (many parts of the body might not get enough blood). It can also cause your airways to narrow, leading to difficulty in breathing. People who are suffering from an anaphylactic shock may be flushed, short of breath, distressed, fainting, or may have a wide range of other symptoms. People suffering from an anaphylactic shock need urgent treatment with adrenaline and urgent medical attention. Anaphylaxis is discussed in greater depth in another article.

Food Allergies Guide Index:

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