What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is a reaction of the body’s immune system that generally occurs soon after eating certain food. Some people experience severe reactions known as anaphylaxis, which can be dangerous and even life threatening if left untreated. Although there is no cure, it is possible that some children may outgrow their food allergy as they get older.

How fast can you have an allergic reaction to food?

Food allergy symptoms can develop within minutes of consuming the food or can take several hours to advance.

Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance

Unlike other types of food disorders, such as intolerances, food allergies are “IgE mediated.” This means that your immune system produces abnormally large amounts of an antibody called immunoglobulin E — IgE for short. IgE antibodies fight the “enemy” food allergens by releasing histamine and other chemicals, which trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Allergic Reactions

An allergic reaction to a particular food may be uncomfortable but not necessarily severe. For other people, an allergic food reaction can be frightening and even fatal.

8 common foods that can cause an allergic reaction

There are eight foods that frequently cause allergic reactions, although any type of food could be the cause.

Eight foods that frequently cause allergic reactions

● Peanuts

● Tree nuts

● Milk

● Egg

● Wheat

● Soy

● Fish

● Shellfish


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Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can lead to death if not given immediate medical attention.

Anaphylactic reactions most commonly occur when someone is exposed to something they’re allergic to, such as insect stings, latex, medications and/or foods.

If someone is exposed to a substance they’re allergic to, their immune system will overreact and release chemicals that bring about symptoms of an allergic reaction.

However, certain people are prone to having severe allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis, which usually affects several parts of the body simultaneously (see below).

A person who has been diagnosed as being at risk of anaphylaxis, must always have on hand, an auto-injectable device containing epinephrine such as an EpiPen. A single dose of this medication should be immediately injected into the thigh of the affected person in the event of an anaphylactic reaction, followed by calling 911.

Typical warning signs involve several parts of the body

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• Swollen throat and/or difficulty breathing

• Blocked throat and/or difficulty swallowing

• Wheezing

• Swelling in different areas of the body

• Itchy red skin rash, welts or hives

• Reddish or flushed tone to the face and/or body

• Sense of impending doom

• Tightness in the chest area

• Passing out

• Voice is raspy/hoarse

• Cramping in the stomach

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Overly pale face and/or body


• The patient must avoid any exposure to all allergens that set off the allergic reaction. Have an action plan and be prepared at all times for an emergency situation.

• It is vital that the affected person’s co-workers, family members and others they are in close contact with be informed of the diagnosis and learn how to quickly use the auto-injector in case of an emergency.

Epinephrine Auto Injectors

Epinephrine is the only treatment for a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis is available in the form of easy to use auto-injectors. Epinephrine auto injectors are only available through a prescription by your doctor.


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