Understanding Food Allergies: Signs and Symptoms

Understanding Food Allergies: Signs and Symptoms

According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the developed world and the incidence is increasing at an alarming rate.

Research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology states that one in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop a potentially life-threatening food allergy.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) estimates there are more than 650,000 Australians with diagnosed food allergy, which doesn’t account for the many who are undiagnosed.

The journal also reports a rapid increase in food allergy over the past 10 to 15 years, and that anaphylactic reactions now account for 1 in every 500 hospital admissions for children aged between five and 14.

“Allergic reactions to food can rapidly become life threatening, so education on daily management, prevention of a reaction and emergency treatment is crucial,” says A&AA chief executive Maria Said. “It is essential for Australians to know the signs and symptoms of when a food allergy occurs.”

Symptoms of food allergies

Mild to moderate symptoms of food allergy include:

  • Swelling of face, lips and/or eyes
  • Hives or welts on the skin
  • Abdominal pain, vomiting

Signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to foods include:

  • Difficult/noisy breathing
  • Swelling of tongue
  • Swelling/tightness in throat
  • Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Persistent dizziness and/or collapse
  • Pale and floppy (in young children)

Less common symptoms of allergy include infantile colic, reflux of stomach contents, eczema, chronic diarrhoea and failure to thrive in infants.

Read this: 8 most common food allergies and how to treat them.


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