What Are The Most Common Food Allergies?

What Are The Most Common Food Allergies

Food allergies are very common. While a person can be allergic to any food, the most common food allergies fall into just eight groups. Knowing what these foods are and being aware of any food allergy symptoms when you consume them can help you avoid a serious allergic reaction. 

Milk

Cow’s milk is a food that produces an allergic reaction in some people. It’s important to note that milk can be found in items like cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and margarine. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to milk are different for children and adults. Children commonly experience:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Anaphylaxis (a potentially life-threatening reaction—though this is rare)

Adults tend to experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Eggs

Eggs are another common source of food allergies. As with all food allergies, the key to dealing with an egg allergy is to avoid eggs. However, some research suggests that heating eggs changes the shape of the proteins in them that cause allergies, preventing a reaction from occurring. Even so, you should talk with your doctor about your allergy and how to manage it.

Egg allergies produce symptoms including:

  • Stomachache
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rash or hives
  • Anaphylaxis (rarely)

Nuts

The most common nut allergies are to peanuts and tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts. Other nuts can produce an allergic reaction as well. Those who are allergic to nuts will also have a reaction to foods that contain them like nut oils and butters. Nut allergies can be particularly severe, so avoiding nuts if you learn you have an allergy is crucial.

Symptoms of a nut allergy can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Itching of the skin, eyes, mouth, or throat
  • Anaphylaxis

Shellfish

Some people are allergic to shellfish such as lobster, shrimp, squid, scallops, prawns, and crayfish. Symptoms of a shellfish allergy tend to come on quickly. Even the vapors from cooking shellfish can produce a reaction in some people.

Symptoms of a shellfish allergy include:

  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the face, throat, lips, tongue, ears, hands, or fingers
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash, hives or eczema
  • Dizziness or fainting

Gluten/Wheat

Gluten and wheat can cause allergic reactions in some people. A gluten or wheat allergy is different than having celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Your doctor can help you understand the difference.

Not only do many foods contain these substances, they’re also found in some beauty products and cosmetics. Symptoms of a gluten or wheat allergy include:

  • Digestive distress
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis (in severe cases)

Soy

A protein from soybeans causes soy allergies. It’s found in soy milk, soy sauce and other foods. Symptoms of a soy allergy include:

  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Rash
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Runny nose
  • Anaphylaxis (rarely)

Fish

Fish allergies are common and can be severe. Unlike many other types of allergies, reactions to fish can develop later in life. Symptoms of fish allergies include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Anaphylaxis (rarely)

Fruit

Fruit allergies may be associated with what’s called oral allergy syndrome (OAS), in which the immune system sees similarities between pollen from trees, grasses or weeds and the proteins in fruits. Fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, pears, and others can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms of a fruit allergy include:

  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing and nasal congestion

Common Food Allergies by Age

Food allergies tend to vary by age. Many of the most common allergies in babies are issues they’ll outgrow. For that reason, the common food allergies in children are different than the common food allergies in adults. The symptoms of a food allergy may change between childhood and adulthood as well. For example, as noted above, children and adults who are allergic to milk have different reactions to it.

Common Signs of Food Allergies

Many of the common food allergy reactions occur across many or all the common allergy food groups. Hives are an example of a symptom that occurs with many food allergies. Talking with your doctor about food allergies and getting tested can help you understand your condition and how to address it.

Get Tested for Food Allergies at Baptist Health

If you suspect you have a food allergy, you should get tested. If you think you’re having a severe reaction, it’s important that you get medical treatment right away.

Learn more about allergies from Baptist Health.

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