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Food Allergy Defined

People with food allergies have an allergic reaction when they come in contact with certain foods. This happens because their immune system overreacts to the proteins in that food. 

Eight kinds of food cause most food allergies: 
• Cow's milk
• Eggs
• Peanuts
• Wheat
• Soy
• Fish
• Shellfish
• Tree nuts

Signs of a food allergy include:
• A rash, or red, itchy skin
• Stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing, or itchy and teary eyes
• Vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea
• Angioedema or swelling
• Hoarseness, throat tightness or a lump in the throat
• Wheezing, chest tightness or trouble breathing

Some people with food allergies can have a serious reaction called anaphylaxis. 

It is common for people and even some healthcare providers to misdiagnose the difference between food allergy and food intolerance. Food allergy can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. On the other hand, a misdiagnosis could mean that you are unnecessarily limiting what you eat.

Learn more about food allergy symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management.

Video: What is a food allergy?

If you or your child has food allergy symptoms, an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, can help. An allergist has advanced training and experience to determine what is causing your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help you feel better and live better.

The AAAAI's Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.