Uncommon Food Allergy Symptoms You Should Know

Allergic food on wooden background

It’s likely that you know someone who has a dangerous food allergy. You have probably had experience with peanut allergies in your child’s school or in your workplace. Some food allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which is the deadliest of allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis can cause trouble breathing and a dangerous drop in blood pressure that requires emergency treatment.1

However, there are other food allergy symptoms that might not be so obvious. There are other uncommon food allergy symptoms that you should know. Some reactions will occur within minutes of ingesting the offending item, or the reaction could happen hours later, making the trigger food very difficult to identify.

What Are Food Allergies?

Food allergies are a result of the immune system responding to a non-threatening substance as if it was a dangerous invader. The immune response can range widely from mild to severe and it can cause a variety of symptoms. New allergies can occur at any point in a person’s life, and a food that originally caused mild symptoms could become severe over time.

Allergic symptoms are caused by the body releasing histamines in response to the trigger food. The actions of the histamines are what we feel as an allergic reaction. Where the histamines are released in the body is where the symptoms will be felt. Histamines can be released in the skin, gut, bloodstream, and respiratory system.

It’s easy to confuse food allergies with food intolerances. An intolerance is when a substance (like lactose) is not digested well by the body and causes intestinal distress. A dietary intolerance is not life threatening, and small amounts of the food may be tolerated.

The most common foods that can trigger allergic reactions are2:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

What Are Common Food Allergy Symptoms?

As mentioned earlier, anaphylaxis is a very severe and life-threatening reaction caused by a food allergy and must be treated as an emergency as it can be fatal. Some other more obvious allergic responses are3:

  • Itching sensation in your mouth or throat
  • Noticeable swelling of mouth or lips
  • Reactions like vomiting and stomach cramps
  • Breaking out in hives (itchy raised bumps on the skin)

What Are Uncommon Food Allergy Symptoms?

young man feeling ill with a sore throat and flu symptoms

Some food allergy symptoms may be less obvious. In some cases it can take hours for the response, which makes identifying the allergen much more difficult. In these cases, allergy testing can be very helpful in identifying the offending food so that it can be avoided.

Uncommon food allergy symptoms can be4:

  • Bloating, gas, and diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Repetitive cough
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion
  • Headache

How Are Food Allergies Treated?

Identification of food allergies is an important first step. At-home and laboratory allergy testing is available through Forrest Health and can help to identify trigger foods so that you and your healthcare practitioner can create a treatment plan. It is important to identify food allergies so the foods that cause allergic reactions can be avoided.


  1. https://www.prevention.com/health/g20429361/4-signs-you-have-a-food-allergy/
  2. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/foodallergy.html
  4. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/food_allergy/article_em.htm

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