A severe allergic reaction also can cause a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and death.

Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by other food- or nonfood-related conditions. For an accurate diagnosis you need a complete medical evaluation by a board-certified allergist.

Emotions linked to food experiences, not the food itself, can even cause a reaction. Just the appearance, smell, or taste of food might trigger an emotional reaction resulting in symptoms that mimic a food allergy or food intolerance. Or someone might get these symptoms by believing the food is harmful. Even if you suspect that emotions are at the root of an adverse reaction to food, check with your physician. Symptoms may stem from a more serious physical condition.

To date there's no known scientific link between food allergies and arthritis, migraine headaches, behavioral problems, ear infections, and urinary tract infections, although research in these areas is under way. Recent studies are showing a link between food allergies and severe asthma in children.

Food Allergies: The Dangerous Side

For most people with food allergies, the reactions are more uncomfortable than dangerous. In rare cases, however, an anaphylactic reaction can occur. When many different body systems react at the same time, this allergic response to food can be severe and even life-threatening. Even a touch, whiff, or tiny bite of a food allergen can be harmful.

With an anaphylactic reaction, symptoms often develop quickly—within a few seconds or minutes after eating—and progress quickly from mild to severe. They may include extreme itching, a swelling of the throat that makes breathing difficult, sweating, rapid or irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, nausea, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, and cardiac arrest and shock. Without immediate medical attention the affected person may die. What foods may cause a severe reaction? Although the cases are rare, any food allergen can cause anaphylaxis; of the incidences,

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Food Allergies

Food Allergies

Peanuts can leave you breathless. Cat dander can lead to itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, coughing and sneezing. And most of us have suffered through those seasonal allergies with horrible pollen counts. Learn more...

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