What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
Symptoms of food allergies vary from person to person. However, we have listed the most common food allergy symptoms.
- tingling or itching in the mouth
- swelling around the mouth, throat, face or tongue
- respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or wheezing
- itchy red rash (hives)
- feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
- diarrhoea or abdominal pain
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. However, they can also vary by intensity. For example, you may consume a problematic food and experience tingling in the mouth, but another time the reaction could be more severe.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Symptoms of environmental allergies vary from person to person. However, we have listed the most common environmental and hay fever allergy symptoms:
- Frequent sneezing
- Runny or blocked nose
- Itchy throat
- Itchy eyes
- Dry mouth
- Dry ears
What causes food allergies?
An allergic reaction happens when your body overreacts to a specific substance. Your body then sends out chemicals to defend against it.
It is possible to develop a food allergy to a food that you have eaten for years with no problem. The reason for this is still unknown. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), it is estimated that 2 million people in the UK suffer from a food allergy.
Can you develop an allergy?
Yes, you can develop an allergy at any given time – seasonal or food-related.
Some studies speculate that moving to a new location may trigger environmental allergens, or if you are exposed to allergens when the immune system is weakened, such as pregnancy or illness. It may trigger food allergies. However, it is still unknown exactly why adults suddenly develop allergies.
You are most likely to develop adult-onset allergies in your twenties, thirties and forties, as opposed to later in life.
How many food allergens are there?
Under EU legislation, the UK classify 14 major food allergens. These listed allergens must be declared on all pre-packaged food in the UK:
- Cereals containing gluten
- Sesame seeds
- Sulphur dioxide (sometimes known as sulphites)
Do I have a food allergy or food intolerance?
It's common to believe that a food allergy and food intolerance are the same things, but they take on different processes in the body.
A food allergy can cause a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. It is when released chemicals act on the blood vessels to cause swelling. Food allergies typically appear instantly and up to two hours after consumption.
A food intolerance, on the other hand, may take up to three days to show any symptoms, making it problematic to identify the cause. Food intolerance is not life-threatening but can cause distressing symptoms, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), migraines and headaches, skin issues, tiredness and joint pain.
Suspect you may have a food intolerance instead of a food allergy? Don't worry. We were named Food Intolerance Testing Company of the Year 2018 and 2019, and we specialise in home-to-lab tests.