Being allergic to the foods you eat can be a serious problem. Having a reaction can cause migraines and even skin conditions such as eczema. More serious reactions such as anaphylaxis, a severe, total body reaction that can restrict breathing or cause what is known as anaphylactic shock and may lead to death can occur. Food allergies are not to be taken lightly. However, there are many complications resulting from those types of allergic reactions that are not as commonly associated with an allergy. Food allergies can even cause you to gain weight or make it difficult to lose weight.
Some allergies come and go throughout life. Younger children often show signs of reactions to certain foods that they have no problem with when they get older. Some of the foods that are commonly associated with childhood allergies such as milk, wheat, eggs and soy are among those that fade away with age. More serious reactions are less common with those foods as well. The biggest culprits for food allergies are nuts and shellfish. Those foods are also the most likely to remain a problem all through life.
So how do you know if you have a problem with a certain food? Keep an eye out for the symptoms of an allergy, especially after eating foods containing wheat, dairy products, nuts, shellfish or soy. The usual minor symptoms are:
- Itchy or tingly mouth
- Rough or dry patches on the skin
- Swelling of any area of the face or neck
- Difficulty breathing
- Stuffy nose
- Pain in the abdomen
- Light headedness, dizziness
More severe symptoms include:
- Tightening of the airway
- Lump in your throat
- Drop in blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
If any of the severe symptoms occur it is necessary to get medical help immediately. They can be life threatening and develop quickly. Your physician will likely advise you to keep an epi-pen with you at all times to protect against the chance of accidentally ingesting food items known to cause reactions.
While it is much less common, there are even some odd causes for food allergies. Exercise induced allergies are when eating the foods usually associated with reactions do not cause a problem, but symptoms appear when a person exercises after consuming them. Some vegetables also cause an allergic reaction to those susceptible to pollen based allergies. In those cases, individuals who have a ragweed allergy may have a reaction to melons.