Know How to Recognize Food Allergy Symptoms
The symptoms of allergic reactions to food vary both in type and severity among individuals and even in one individual over time. Some children may not be able to communicate their symptoms clearly because of their age or developmental challenges. Knowing how to recognize food allergy symptoms is vital. Importantly, the severity of a reaction does not predict the severity of the next reaction. Because food allergy accidents are accidents, you never know how much of the offending food will be eaten.
Complaints such as abdominal pain, itchiness, or other discomforts may be the first signs of an allergic reaction. Signs and symptoms can become evident within a few minutes or up to 1–2 hours after ingestion of the allergen, and rarely, several hours after ingestion.
Symptoms of breathing difficulty, voice hoarseness or change in the voice, or faintness associated with change in mood or alertness or rapid progression of symptoms that involve a combination of the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or respiratory symptoms signal a more severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and require immediate attention.
Symptoms associated with an allergic reaction to food can include the following:
- Mucous Membrane Symptoms: swollen, red watery eyes or swollen lips or tongue
- Skin Symptoms: itchiness, flushing, or hives
- Gastrointestinal Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, pain, cramping or diarrhea
- Upper Respiratory Symptoms: nasal congestion, sneezing, hoarse voice, trouble swallowing, cough, or numbness around mouth
- Lower Respiratory Symptoms: deep cough, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or chest tightness
- Cardiovascular Symptoms: pale or blue skin color, weak pulse, dizziness or fainting, confusion or shock, or loss of consciousness
- Mental or Emotional Symptoms: irritability, change in alertness, mood change, or confusion or a sense of impending doom
Children with food allergies might communicate their symptoms in the following ways:
- It feels like something is poking my tongue.
- My tongue (or mouth) is tingling (or burning).
- My tongue (or mouth) itches.
- My tongue feels like there is hair on it.
- My mouth feels funny.
- There’s a frog in my throat; there’s something stuck in my throat.
- My tongue feels full (or heavy).
- My lips feel tight.
- It feels like there are bugs in my ears.
- My throat feels thick.
- It feels like a bump is on the back of my tongue (throat).
Oral Immunotherapy has helped change the lives of hundreds of families and is one of the few practices in the U.S. with specialized expertise in treating food allergies.