Any food can trigger an allergy. Yet, just some foods cause at least 90% of allergic reactions to food. The substance that triggers an allergic response in foods or drinks is named an “allergen.”
Almost all allergens are proteins. For most people, these proteins are not allergens, as their immune system does not respond to them. It is the immune system’s response to these proteins that trigger an allergic response.
Amid children, most allergic responses to food are triggered by peanuts, milk, soybean, tree nuts, eggs, and wheat. Most kids stop being allergic to foods early on in their infancy. Allergic adults usually respond to citrus fruit, nuts, fish, peanuts, shellfish, and wheat.
Causes of Food Allergies
In adults, the common of food allergies are caused by some proteins like:
- Shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster and crab
- Tree nuts, such as walnuts and pecans
In children, food allergies are regularly caused by proteins like:
- Tree nuts
- Cow’s milk
People allergic to a particular food may also similarly have a response to connected foods. For example, a person allergic to one tree nut may be cross-reactive to others. Knowing about patterns of cross-reactivity and what must be passed up is one of the causes why people with food allergies should get care from a board-certified allergist.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
Symptoms of a food allergy can vary from easygoing to severe. The most severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. An allergic reaction can occur within minutes of eating, or it may happen hours later. If you are sensitive to a special food, you may have some or all of the next signs:
- Red, swollen, dry, or itchy skin rash (hives or eczema)
- Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or a slight, dry cough
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Itchy mouth or inside your ear
- Funny taste in your mouth
- Upset stomach, cramps, throwing up, or diarrhea
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Swollen lips, tongue, or throat
- Feeling weak, confused, or light-headed, or passing out
- Chest pain or a weak, uneven heartbeat