This article is from the Children Allergies and Asthma FAQ, by Eileen Kupstas Soo firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Food allergies range from very mild to life-threatening. The mildest
symptoms are vague itchiness in the mouth and throat. Other mild to
- general itchiness
- hives or rash, sometimes all over body
- runny/itchy nose and eyes
- recurrent earaches
- nausea and vomiting
Some foods can cause a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. The
mouth, throat, and bronchial tubes swell enough to impede breathing.
The person may wheeze or faint. Often there are generalized hives
and/or swollen face. This is an emergency!! As anyone would, call
your doctor or 911! For breathing trouble or loss of consciousness,
call 911 immediately. See also the sections on insect stings and
One severe allergic reaction to food puts you at risk for more.
Discuss with your doctor what to do for repeat reactions.
Common food allergens:
- peanuts: This is often life-threatening.
Call a doctor for
ANY reactions to peanut products! (Peanuts can be a
hidden ingredient in a number of foods.)
- soy --
again can be a hidden ingredient in a number of
- fish and/or shellfish;
in some people, these reactions can be
severe, ranging from extreme nausea to breathing
difficulties. Watch carefully and call 911 for any
- milk proteins
(less common than you'd think - most people are
intolerant not allergic).
- wheat (and gluten), as well as some other grains (corn, rye)
- many reactions have unknown cause!
Interestingly, some common food proteins are similar enough to
ragweed to cause reactions in sensitive people. These include bananas
Allergic reactions may progress from mild to severe, so keep track of
Food allergies may be amount-sensitive. That is, you don't feel the
reaction until you've ingested a certain amount; however, severe
reactions may occur with ANY tiny amount of allergen. This is
especially true of peanut allergies.
Amy Uhrbach (email@example.com)
Eileen Kupstas Soo (firstname.lastname@example.org)