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Know the Signs of a Food Allergy

May 13 starts Food and Allergy Awareness week, recognizing the 15 million Americans who are affected by food allergies. Such allergies happen when the body mistakes a food protein as a threat, triggering the immune system to have an allergic reaction, which can vary from mild discomfort to severe distress. In the most serious cases, the body can go into anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.

When experiencing anaphylaxis, symptoms often develop rapidly in various parts of the body. After exposure to an allergen, severity typically peaks between five to 30 minutes. The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis can be one or a combination of the following:

  • Mouth Swelling of the lips, tongues, or roof of the mouth
  • Eyes/Nose Runny nose, stuffy nose or sneezing
  • Skin Hives or body rash, redness/flushing, itching or swelling
  • Gut Sharp abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
  • Throat Hoarseness, tightening of throat, difficulty swallowing, hacking cough, stridor
  • Lungs Shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, pain or tightness in chest
  • Mental Anxiety, panic, sense of doom
  • Circulation/Heart Chest pain, low blood pressure, weak pulse, shock, paleness in color, dizziness, fainting, lethargy

Managing a food allergy can be difficult without knowing the cause. For most people, they are unaware they have a food allergy until they have an allergic reaction. At UF Health Allergy, we can conduct diagnostic tests and review your health history to determine potential triggers for allergic reactions and anaphylaxis. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 352-265-0420.

Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, please seek medical attention immediately.

About the author

Sophia Ramos
Marketing Assistant

For the media

Media contact

Peyton Wesner
Communications Manager for UF Health External Communications (352) 273-9620