If you find yourself experiencing uncomfortable symptoms after eating a specific food, then you might be dealing with a food allergy. Foods can trigger immune-system reactions that involve the respiratory tract, the digestive tract, and the skin. Particularly severe cases of food allergies can even involve the cardiovascular system.
Between approximately 6 and 8% of children are believed to have food allergies. For adults, the figure is lower, around 3% or less. Many kids’ food allergies seemingly fade away as they mature, but close to 11 million people in the United States suffer from food allergies. If you have food allergies, know that you’re certainly not alone.
People typically experience food allergy symptoms shortly after consuming a problematic food. The symptoms can appear as quickly as mere minutes after a meal, but they could take upward of two hours to show up. The most typical signs of food allergies include:
- difficulty breathing
- nasal congestion
- mouth itchiness
- dry coughing
- tingling sensations in the mouth
- passing out
- throwing up
- stomach pain
Swelling is a common sign of food allergies, too. People who have food allergies frequently experience swelling of the throat, tongue, lips, and face, among other body parts. Symptoms of food allergies in adults and children tend to be similar.
Food allergy symptoms often cause people general discomfort, but sometimes symptoms can be life-threatening. Some people experience intense and occasionally fatal allergic reactions due to food allergies. These reactions are known as anaphylaxis. Key signs of anaphylaxis include a fast pulse, shock, extreme blood pressure drops, airway constriction, swelling of the throat, problems breathing normally, extreme dizziness, and fainting.
If you or a loved one ever experiences any of these alarming symptoms, it’s absolutely crucial to seek emergency medical attention immediately. If you ignore a case of anaphylaxis, it can lead to a coma and even death. Anaphylaxis is an extremely serious matter. It isn’t unheard of for anaphylaxis symptoms to appear, cease, and then return several hours later. Some types of food that frequently cause anaphylaxis include seafood and nuts.
Allergies vs. Intolerance
Note that while food allergies and food intolerances have similar symptoms, they aren’t the same. Typical signs of food intolerance are indigestion, burping, anxiety, headaches, and runny stools. Food intolerance is different from food allergies in that it has nothing to do with the immune system. Whether you suspect that you have food allergies or food intolerance, your priority should be to speak with your doctor. A doctor can help you figure out how to manage your allergies or intolerance and therefore improve your quality of life.
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