Food Allergic Reactions

I have heard too many stories of dismissive doctors concluding allergic reactions to certain foods as non-problematic.  In addition to dismissal, I have heard mixed advice from the medical community on when emergency treatment should be given to people having an allergic reaction.  For this reason, I want to outline the list of allergic reaction symptoms that are typical.

Note: Not all symptoms will occur for all people every time.  Every reaction is different.  Do not rely solely on what has happened in the past, or never happened at all.  And remember, time is very crucial when dealing with severe allergic reactions.  You can read previous posts on my son’s anaphylactic reactions.

When a food has been consumed to which a person is allergic, the following symptoms may occur within minutes to 1-2 hours:

  1. Itching in the mouth and difficulty swallowing and breathing.  (My son has complained of a sore throat).
  2. As the food starts to digest, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain. (My son has experienced both vomiting and stomach pain.)
  3. As the allergen hits the bloodstream, it reaches the skin causing hives or eczema.  (My son has had hives initially as a reaction as well as a delayed sign.  Eczema typically has not presented itself until a day later.)
  4. When the allergen hits the airways, an asthmatic reaction can occur. (While wheezing has never been an acute symptom for my son, he has always been treated with respiratory response in the ER.)
  5. As the allergen continues to travel through the bloodstream, lightheadedness and weakness can occur.  (One of the scariest reactions my son ever had was when his eyes were rolling back in his head, his body was limp and he was faint.)
  6. Anaphylaxis, which is a sudden drop in blood pressure.  Anaphylactic reactions can be severe even when few or mild symptoms present themselves initially.  (This is nothing to play around with.  EpiPen should have already been injected by this point or be injected NOW and be en route to the ER.  Anytime an EpiPen is administered, an ER visit is paramount.  If EpiPen is not injected but severe allergic reaction is evident, ER visit is paramount.)

Are there any allergic reaction symptoms that you have experienced that are not listed above?

I plan to go through a series on the specifics of food allergies over the next few weeks including, treatment options, testing options, and other nuances of food allergies.  Let me know if there is a specific topic or question that you would like covered.

PrintFriendly and PDF
This entry was posted in Food Allergies & Health. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Food Allergic Reactions

  1. Andie says:

    i have enjoyed w/ my reactions that when real bad, I get a blue line around my eyes and mouth and my lips turn blue. and i dont know about anyone else but when i have a non-anaphylactic reaction it easily turns into sinus infections and bronchitis and those reactions i dont notice so much til the infection starts.

    • Cook says:

      There are definitely delayed reactions that are not on this list as I tried to keep this list specific to immediate emergency reactions. Some of the delayed reactions are ear infections, eczema, digestive issues, migraines, sinus infections, lung infections and more. Thanks for adding to the list!

      • Andie says:

        the turning blue happens right before I swell and have asthma attack and drop in blood pressure. It is one of them sure signs for me that a lot of pain is going to be involved with this particular attack.

  2. Donna Spencer says:

    I have really bad headaches along with stomach pain. I used to have migraines, but since taking medicine for portal hypertension, they are gone. The headaches I get now from the food allergies is in the same area the migraines used to be. They are like mini migraines because they are throbbing headaches, but I can take an extra strength Tylenol, lie down, and they go away. This never happened with migraines. I had to take Codeine. The headache sometimes starts before the stomach pain. I’ve been having problems with Chex gluten-free cereal. The headache can start within half an hour after eating it. I’m allergic to soy, and I wonder about the cereal if it has soy in it. I eat corn and rice with no problems. I drink Perrier Water, and it really helps and takes away the stomach pain!!

    • Cook says:

      I looked up the ingredients for corn and rice chex and nothing about soy caught my eye. However, I’m pretty sure products do not have to be labeled as having an ingredient if it is part of another ingredients (for example, artificial flavor, caramel color, etc.). While none of those typical ingredients were on the list, you can never be certain that it’s not in something. You can always call the manufacturer and get more details.

      Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    • Nancy S. says:

      I too have had bad reactions to Chex cereal, I believe the BHT in it, used as a preservative
      was giving me migraines and nightsweats. Look it up online and there is a wealth of information on it and other preservatives. I believe Canada has outlawed it in childrens cereal. Why our country doesn’t is beyone me. Good luck.

  3. On Top of Everyone you have already listed…my son has had a red, very swollen face….(the time he went into shock)…but was minutes before that happened. Very scary reactions…all of them, and they are NOTHING to play around with! Do NOT give them time to set in…Get out that medicine and take action!~

    • Cook says:

      Yes, Lisa, I think I’ve seen a swollen, red face in my son before too.

      Amen!! Don’t mess around with the stuff and don’t wait for major symptoms to appear. The epi-pen won’t hurt you like some allergic reactions can.

  4. Donna Spencer says:

    I’ve never used an epi-pen, but I was eating peanut butter a lot in my homemade granola. One night I made popcorn with peanut oil, and the right side of my face started feeling funny. I looked in the bathroom mirror, and that side of my face was red and puffy. I haven’t eaten peanut butter since then. That was about 5 months ago. My rheumatologist said to be careful.

    • Cook says:

      That’s very interesting. Do you know what kind of peanut oil it was? I’ve always read that most American manufactured peanut oil has removed the peanut protein and will not likely cause an allergic reaction. However, it has to be expressed at a high temperature. Made any other way or in other countries, this same assertion can not be guaranteed. Regardless, it’s certainly not something you want to mess with.

      • Donna Spencer says:

        I buy oils from the health food section of the stores I go to. So, I don’t think they have processed it at a high temperature. It probably was Hain’s.

  5. Amy says:

    My daughter has an outdoor mold allergy. She normally can eat cheese sticks, etc. but last night I made Chicken Corden Bleu with a gournet sharp cheddar. She took a few bites, and within an hour she was all rash and hives. She has had it before with a processed type cheese and had no reaction. So we have concluded that most cheeses contain MOLD and that was the trigger to this reaction. We were able to control it with antihistimne, but will now know of another item to beware of on our food list of NO’s.

    • Cook says:

      That’s tough, Amy! It sounds like you’re really staying on top of it and keeping a close watch. Honestly, with rescue medication close by, avoiding what you know to be a problem, and keeping a close eye, that’s all you can do! I wish you all the best as you continue on your allergy journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *