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Food Allergy Signs and Symptoms
Food allergies can present themselves in many different ways. Unfortunately, most physicians were not trained well enough to understand the impact that food has on the body. Even most allergists and dermatologists are not up to date on understanding how food allergies present themselves.
If you have ever had constant problems that never seemed to go away, yet your physician gave you a blank stare which you interpreted as them thinking "you're crazy", then join the club. While food allergies could be the problem, many typical food allergy signs and symptoms can be caused by other conditions.
Food allergies can cause havoc with your body, and signs and symptoms could be triggered by ingestion, inhalation, or by touching the allergen. The signs and symptoms can range from a runny nose to hives, or could get as serious as difficulty with breathing, or even a life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Food allergy signs and symptoms can also be very esoteric, and can impact your thought process, concentration, or even cause dizziness. Food allergy symptoms can also cause seemingly unrelated symptoms, making the diagnosis ever harder.
The severity of symptoms is different for everyone. And on top of all that, food allergy signs and symptoms can be delayed for up to three days from the time you ate! If people get sick, they most often assume it was something in their last meal, but who knows -- it could have been something eaten three days ago!
So the next time your physician thinks you're crazy, take a look at our list of signs and symptoms and have him/her look into the possibility of food allergies.
The following list was compiled from the inputs of FAST list members. The list is far from inclusive, but most of these problems show up on a consistent basis among members. Based on all the research I've done regarding food allergies, all of these signs and symptoms are fairly well known. Most current food allergy books support the personal experiences of FAST members.
Child vs. Adult Reactions: In most cases, children and adults have the capacity for similar food allergy signs and symptoms. For those cases that seem to be limited to children, notes have been made. Consult your physician if you have questions.
This following list was compiled by FAST members: Melissa, Ygg, Amy, Jen, Cindy, Bid, Michelle, Shirley, Lynn, Dorothy, Laura, Sue, Sharon, Juliann, Janice, Jennifer, Miche, Joy, Judy, Kenny, and a few other helpers who didn't sign their name.
FOOD ALLERGY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Respiratory problems: Asthma, wheezing, and shortness of breath
Swallowing difficulty, sore throat
Mucus in throat, post nasal drip
Sinus problems (runny nose, stuffed nose, hay-fever symptoms)
Behavior changes: depression, agitation, anger, hyperactivity, irritability, crankiness, restlessness
Sleeping difficulty, insomnia, waking up at night
Lethargy, fatigue, drowsiness, sleepiness, tiredness
Facial / Eyes:
Black circles under eyes (allergic shiners)
Puffy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes
Blepheritis (mucous/bacterial buildup in eye)
Skin / Topical:
Eczema, dry skin (possibly in form of diaper rash in infants)
Hives, bumps, blisters
Itchiness (mouth, face, throat; any part of the body)
Cradle cap (infants)
Rashes, red skin (many different descriptions)
Flushed skin, flushed ears
Sensitive skin (looks normal, but welts when scratched)
Swelling of: mouth, throat, tongue, uvula, lips (a.k.a. Oral Allergy Syndrome)
Swelling of any part of body
Tingling in: lips, mouth, tongue, throat
Cold sores, blisters in throat
Muscle aches, fatigue, pain, or tremors
Loss of strength
"Brain fog" -- including memory loss, concentration problems, or difficulty thinking
Dizziness (light headedness), change in blood pressure
GI / Bowel:
Bowel problems -- diarrhea, constipation, cycling between diarrhea and constipation
Stool is bloody, hemorrhoids
Intestinal cramping, pain (stomach cramps)
Upset stomach, vomiting, stomach ache
Stomach bloating, gas, colicky (infant)
Anus red spot (few cm. Diameter) (infant/child)
Excessive drooling (infant/child)
Encopresis (soiling of underwear) (infant/child)
Craving for foods
Finicky eater, anxiety when being fed (infant/child)
High eosinophil count
IgE and/or IgG - high serum levels
Hard to Classify, but important!
Seemingly unrelated health problems
Anaphylaxis -- life threatening allergic reaction
Stunted growth, slow growth
Enuresis (bed-wetting) (infant/child)
Remember, just because you have these symptoms it does not mean you have food allergies. You should visit a doctor or hospital if you have any type of persistent symptoms, especially if severe.