Food Allergy


This immune system reaction is triggered by certain foods. Your immune system can react if you eat, touch or breathe in particles of the food. Even a very small amount can trigger a reaction. Many types of foods cause immune system reactions. Some common examples are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, wheat and soy.


We don't understand what causes a food allergy to develop. It's like your immune system has made a mistake. It treats a certain food as if it's harmful to you. When you're exposed to this food, your immune system reacts quickly. It releases chemicals into your bloodstream to protect you. But these chemicals overwhelm your body.


An allergic response to a food can cause a runny nose, and itching or tingling of the mouth and throat. Your throat may tighten, and your breathing my be affected. Your skin may turn red, and hives may form. You can have nausea, vomiting, cramps or diarrhea. A severe reaction may cause your airways to constrict. You may have a rapid pulse and a drop in blood pressure. You may lose consciousness. This is a reaction called "anaphylaxis." It's a medical emergency.


There is no cure for food allergy. But there are things you can do. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can stay safe.