Common Food Allergies

The Eight Types of Common Food Allergies

It is scientifically proven that almost any food on our table may under certain circumstances cause an allergic reaction, although the probably of that is highly unlikely.

However, there are eight types of food allergies that cause the majority of allergy cases in the US:

  • Peanuts;
  • Nuts from trees such as almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts;
  • Shellfish such as lobster, crayfish, crab or shrimp;
  • Fish such as flounder, cod, or mackerel;
  • Milk and dairy products;
  • Soy;
  • Eggs;
  • Wheat.

Common food allergies mostly happen in infants under the age of three, and children usually "grow out" of their allergy to certain foods in a couple of years. Food allergy symptoms in adults however are most likely to remain a constant concern. One of the most "risky" food allergies at this point is peanut allergy, since numerous products contain at the very least traces of peanuts, making any unfamiliar food a potential risk. In order to minimize this hazard of getting a sudden allergy attack, food companies are implied to use food labels that clearly indicate if there is one or more of the top eight allergy foods present in the product.

Common Food Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms of a particular allergy to food may differ from person to person, but there are several instances of symptoms that seem to be common among most people with this type allergy. An allergic reaction to food may last from several minutes up to an hour after ingesting the allergen. The reaction may start as itching or hives in and around the mouth, swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, difficulty swallowing or breathing. Depending on the type of allergen and its preparation method (cooked, sliced, minced, etc.), such symptoms as nasal congestion, eye irritation, dizziness or lightheadedness may be experienced. As the food descends lower into the stomach, the person may become nauseous or vomit, or get a feeling of unease and heaviness in the stomach, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

The mentioned gastrointestinal symptoms may often be confused with food intolerance. If you cannot stand a particular type of food, it does not necessarily mean that you are allergic to it. As a fact, allergies are quite rare in comparison to food intolerance - inability of the organism to process certain kinds of foods, causing some of the common gastrointestinal symptoms.

Anaphylactic Shock Symptoms

In rare cases people with allergy may experience a serious allergic reaction called an anaphylactic shock. This reaction is more common in people with allergies to food than in any other allergic occurrences. When an allergen is ingested, the extensive contact it has with the body’s tissues may be the cause of most dangerous allergy symptoms. Anaphylactic shock symptoms may vary in duration (several minutes to several hours) and severity, but most commonly the reaction happens very quickly and thus may become life-threatening. The symptoms that are reported most often include a severe blood pressure drop that may result in fainting and throat tissue swelling that may impede or deny breathing.

Other symptoms include:

  • Rash, hives or redness;
  • Severe swelling of the tongue or throat;
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of balance;
  • Persistent coughing and trouble breathing;
  • Difficulty talking and voice changes;

Needless to say, if you suspect you are experiencing anaphylaxis symptoms you should immediately seek medical attention. Even if the reaction is minor right now, it may rapidly worsen over time.