Topic 1 Common Food Allergy Symptoms

Food allergies are an important public health problem affecting both children and adults and it is a phenomenon increasing nowadays. Although the risk of severe allergic reactions is high and they may even lead to life-threatening situations, there is no cure available. Allergies can only be handled either by avoiding the allergen or by treating the symptoms. Food allergies have a variety of symptoms, from mild to severe, which may vary from person to person and may depend on different factors, including the amount of the food allergen consumed. Symptoms may appear from within a few minutes to a few hours after eating.

Visual taken from

They may affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, or the respiratory tract, and may include one or more of the following:

  • Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps
  • Hives (allergic urticaria), itching, eczema: sometimes, it may happen from merely touching the allergen (e.g., eggs, fish).
  • Eczema
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, repetitive cough
  • Shock, circulatory collapse
  • Tight, hoarse throat, trouble swallowing
  • Pale or blue skin colouring
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, fainting, weak pulse
  • Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening event
  • Loss of consciousness

Visual taken from insemarDrawings | Shutterstock

It is commonly misunderstood that food allergic reactions become more severe each time they appear. Reactions are unpredictable and there is no reliable way of knowing how a person may react on future exposures. Allergic people must be prepared and aware of the signs and symptoms.

There are several reasons why an allergic reaction may be more severe, including how much allergen has been eaten and other factors such as uncontrolled asthma, exercise, and infection. Some people do seem predisposed to more severe reactions with a previous anaphylactic reaction increasing the risk of a further one.

Visual taken from