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How To Detect Food Allergy Symptoms

Learn to trace sensitive reactions after eating and determine if you can identify allergies.


  • TIP: Obvious food allergies are triggered by uncommon foods in your diet and cause swift reactions. Hidden allergies are more gradual, involving daily and favorite foods in your diet.
  • Step 1: Identify exercise-induced reactions to foods. Log each event in your diary.
  • Step 2: Bring your diary history to a doctor, and undergo a "scratch" or other allergy test to get a full picture of your condition.
  • FACT: The number of people suffering from food allergies in developed countries has risen exponentially in the last 30 years, but has not risen in underdeveloped nations.
  • Step 3: Try an elimination diet over several days, starting with safe foods and adding other foods, one at a time, to gauge your reactions.
  • Step 4: Investigate cross-reactivity, a swelling or tingling around the mouth that occurs in ragweed or hay fever sufferers after eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Cook these foods to eliminate their cross-reactivity effect.
  • Step 5: Keep track of abnormal reactions to particular foods, such as wheezing, coughing, or rashes in a food diary.
  • Step 6: Note whether vomiting, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea – normally signs of food poisoning – occur along with allergy symptoms. Shared symptoms likely indicate an allergic reaction.
  • TIP: Also note food packaging, especially latex. Nearly six percent of people are allergic to latex.
  • Step 7: Watch for nut and legume allergy signs in children, such as hives or swelling, rashes, shortness of breath, or a runny nose. Milk and eggs might also cause nausea, hives, eczema, headache, and cramping.
  • : Seek emergency treatment if you experience difficulty breathing, shock, rapid pulse, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

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