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What Food Allergies Can Cause Anaphylaxis

More Important Safety Information

EpiPen® 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr® 0.15 mg Auto-Injectors are intended for immediate administration as emergency supportive therapy only and are not intended as a substitute for immediate medical or hospital care. In conjunction with the administration of epinephrine, the patient should seek immediate medical or hospital care. More than two sequential doses of epinephrine should only be administered under direct medical supervision.

EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr® should only be injected into the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. Do not inject intravenously, into buttock, or into digits, hands, or feet. Instruct caregivers to hold the leg of young children firmly in place and limit movement prior to and during injection to minimize risk of injection-related injury.

Rare cases of serious skin and soft tissue infections have been reported following epinephrine injection. Advise patients to seek medical care if they develop symptoms of infection such as persistent redness, warmth, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site.

Epinephrine should be used with caution in patients with heart disease, and in patients who are on drugs that may sensitize the heart to arrhythmias, because it may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris and produce ventricular arrhythmias. Arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation, have been reported, particularly in patients with underlying cardiac disease or taking cardiac glycosides, diuretics, or anti-arrhythmics.

Anaphylaxis And Food Allergy

Anaphylaxis is an acute, life-threatening, systemic allergic reaction that results from the activation and degranulation of mast cells and/or basophils. Although anaphylaxis is usually due to an IgE-mediated immediate-type hypersensitivity reaction, similar symptoms can occur as a result of an antibody-independent or anaphylactoid-mediated activation. Common triggers include medications, insect stings, and foods such as eggs, peanuts, dairy products, fish and shellfish, and tree nuts. Transfusion of blood products, radiocontrast media, and allergen-specific immunotherapy also pose a risk of anaphylaxis. Although not common, certain meats can also cause anaphylaxis with symptoms developing several hours after the exposure.

Food allergies affect as much as 4% of the US population. Food proteins may initiate an immune response in sensitized individuals. The spectrum of symptoms due to allergy is broad, affecting the eyes, nose, throat, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Respiratory symptoms are the most life-threatening and include swelling of the airway , which can lead to asphyxiation and death.

Types Of Food Allergies

Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.

  • IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E . Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.
  • non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system. This type of allergy is often difficult to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop .
  • mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.

Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.

When Should I Go To The Er

Without medical treatment, allergic reactions can be life-threatening. Go to the ER or call 911 if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Hives all over your body.
  • Tingling hands, feet or lips.
  • Throat swelling that constricts your airway.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Food allergies occur when your body mistakenly triggers an immune response to certain foods. This immune response, or allergic reaction, can cause a variety of symptoms such as hives, swelling or difficulty breathing. In severe cases, you may experience a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Once you know what foods you are allergic to, the best way to manage your allergy is to avoid those specific foods. Healthcare providers can prescribe medications that reverse anaphylaxis and other allergy symptoms.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/24/2021.


When To Seek Medical Advice

Anaphylactic Shock,Symptoms and Treatment

If you think you or your child may have a food allergy, it’s very important to ask for a professional diagnosis from your GP. They can then refer you to an allergy clinic if appropriate.

Many parents mistakenly assume their child has a food allergy when their symptoms are actually caused by a completely different condition.

Commercial allergy testing kits are available, but using them isn’t recommended. Many kits are based on unsound scientific principles. Even if they are reliable, you should have the results looked at by a health professional.

Read more about diagnosing food allergies.

Nearly One In 50 Americans Are At Risk For Anaphylaxis

Some children are allergic to certain foods, medicines, insects and latex. When they come into contact with these things they develop symptoms, such as hives and shortness of breath. This is known as an allergic reaction. Things that cause an allergic reaction are called allergens. Take all allergic symptoms seriously because both mild and severe symptoms can lead to a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis .

What Are The Chances Of Having A Severe Reaction To Airborne Allergens

Virtually none.  No study has ever conclusively proven that allergens become airborne and cause symptoms to develop.  Outside of a few case reports involving symptoms from fish allergy appearing when someone cooked fish, those with food allergies only have severe reactions after eating the allergic food. Many people with peanut allergy also worry about the dust from peanuts, particularly on airplanes. Most reactions probably happen after touching peanut dust that may be on tray tables or other surfaces.  A recent study showed that wiping the surfaces to remove any dust resulted in fewer people reporting reactions during a flight.

Symptoms Of Food Allergy And Intolerance

It can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of food allergy and food intolerance. Usually, symptoms caused by food allergy develop very soon after consuming the food. While symptoms caused by food intolerance can be immediate, they may also take 12 to 24 hours to develop.Food intolerance reactions are usually related to the amount of the food consumed. They may not occur until a certain amount of the food is eaten, but this amount varies for each person.The symptoms of food allergy and intolerance can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to see your doctor for a medical diagnosis. 

Other Sources Of Hidden Allergens

In addition to being present in foods accidentally, insects may be consumed as a food in some communities, either as a traditional constituent of the diet, or due to increasing awareness of food sustainability. Steffie de Giera and Kitty Verhoeckxa undertook a major review of insects as foods and allergen sources in the diet . They included information from 30 case reports centered on a variety of different insects including beetles, silkworms, caterpillars, locusts, grasshoppers, bees, and Dactylopius coccus, the insect involved in cochineal allergy. They concluded that allergens such as tropomyosin, arginine kinase, and others, which are commonly involved in allergy to crustaceans, mollusks, house dust mite and cockroach, may also be important allergens in reactions to insects especially in those who are sensitized to house dust mite, shrimp, prawn, and crab.

First Aid For Anaphylaxis

If someone’s symptoms and signs suggest anaphylaxis you should follow their Anaphylaxis Action Plan or take the following steps:

  • Lay victim flat, do not stand or walk, if breathing is difficult, allow to sit
  • Prevent further exposure to the triggering agent if possible
  • Administer adrenaline through auto-injector:
  • Child less than 5 years – 0.15 mg intramuscular injection.
  • Older than 5 years – 0.3mg intramuscular injection
  • Administer oxygen and / or asthma medication for respiratory symptoms.
  • Further adrenaline should be given if no response after five minutes.
  • If breathing stops follow resuscitation and life support procedures.
  • For more information about anaphylaxis read by Australian Resuscitation Council.

    Anaphylaxis From Eating Meat May Occur Hours After Eating

    Meat from mammals — beef, pork, lamb, veal, venison, rabbit, and others — and sometimes poultry can cause symptoms of anaphylaxis hours after you eat it, making it difficult to draw a connection between the food and your allergy. With most other allergies, “it’s unusual to have anaphylaxis hours after exposure,” Sicherer says. But with this form of anaphylaxis, you may not experience symptoms until three to six hours later, he says. That’s because it takes time to digest the meat. A bite from a tick called the lone star tick can cause this allergy. That’s because your immune system develops antibodies to alpha-gal, a sugar found in both the tick and red meat. This form of anaphylaxis is more common in woodsy southeastern states where ticks thrive. Lone star ticks have been found from Texas to Iowa to New England.

    Monitor Symptoms While Waiting For Emergency Responders

    The allergic person should lay down and elevate their legs while waiting for emergency responders. This helps to keep blood flow going to the heart during an anaphylactic reaction. If they do not feel comfortable laying down because of vomiting or difficulty breathing, have them sit comfortably and still elevate the legs if possible. Monitor the person’s pulse and breathing so you can give an accurate update when medical help arrives, and give CPR if necessary. 

    What Is The Treatment For Anaphylaxis

    Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction (Anaphylaxis ...

    Epinephrine is the most important treatment available. Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors so you can quickly treat a reaction wherever you are. .

    • Promptly inject the medicine at the first sign of an anaphylactic reaction. Consider carrying your anaphylaxis action plan along with your auto-injectors.

    If you think you are having anaphylaxis, use your self-injectable epinephrine and call 911.Do not delay. Do not take antihistamines in place of epinephrine. Epinephrine is the most effective treatment for anaphylaxis.

    When It Comes To Food Allergy Safety Its A Matter Of Faact

    Food Allergies are REAL and can be FATAL! is a serious allergic reaction that comes on quickly and has the potential to become life-threatening.

    Avoiding Allergens is a MUST! Never assume something is safe – ALWAYS read ALL labels for their ingredient and manufacturing information.

    Allergies to Food are NOT a joke! NO child should ever be , teased or excluded, especially due to their food allergy.

    Cross-Contact CAN happen! Proper cleaning of hands, cookware, utensils, and also surfaces is vital for preventing exposure to allergens.

    Together, We CAN Make a Difference! FAACT is here to provide support and helpful resources that you can easily !

    What Is Anaphylactic Shock

    A person who has an anaphylactic reaction can go into anaphylactic shock. Blood pressure drops severely. The bronchial tissues, which help carry air, swell. These reactions cause wheezing, shortness of breath and even loss of consciousness. Anaphylactic shock requires immediate treatment to save the person’s life.

    How Can I Prevent Food Allergies

    There is no known way to prevent food allergies in adults. In babies, in the first six months of life may prevent milk allergy. Early introduction of highly allergenic foods such as peanut protein and eggs into the diet may also have a preventative effect. Please discuss with your healthcare provider.

    Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance

    Did you know the term food allergy is widely overused? Manypeople believe they have a food allergy when they actually have a foodintolerance. The two are commonly confused because they produce some of thesame symptoms.

    A food allergy causes an immune system reaction that canaffect numerous organs in the body every time a certain food is consumed,touched or inhaled — potentially causing life-threatening symptoms. On theother hand, a food intolerance occurs when a certain food irritates thedigestive system because your body is unable to properly digest it.

    Food intolerances are much more common than food allergies.In fact, almost everyone will experience a negative digestive response aftereating at some point in their life. Unlike allergies, intolerances are oftendose-related, meaning symptoms may not present until a large amount is eaten orthe food is eaten frequently. The most common food intolerance is an intolerance to lactose, which is found inmilk and other dairy products.

    Food intolerance symptoms commonly include:

    ·        Nausea or stomach pain


    ·        Peanuts

    ·        Wheat and other grains with gluten

    ·        Soybeans

    These foods, and any ingredient that contains proteinderived from one or more of them, are officially designated as the main foodallergens by the FoodAllergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.

    Wear Medical Alert Identification

    If you have an allergy, medical alert jewelry gives important medical information to doctors and others in case you have a severe reaction. The MedicAlert Foundation offers a 24-hour emergency response service and family notification. ID can come in the form of bracelets, dog tags, sports bands, watches, and more.


    Can Food Allergies Develop As An Adult

    Although most food allergies develop when you are a child, they can, rarely, develop as an adult. The most common food allergies for adults are shellfish – both crustaceans and mollusks – as well as tree nuts, peanuts and fish. Most adults with food allergies have had their allergy since they were children. An allergic reaction to a food can sometimes be missed in an adult because symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea can be mistaken for the flu or food poisoning. Adults don’t always pay close attention to symptoms, which can be dangerous since crucial hints can be missed and place the adult at risk if they continue to eat the food.

    Oral allergy syndrome is something that can develop in adulthood. Also known as pollen-food syndrome, it is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables, and some tree nuts. This is not a food allergy, though the symptoms occur from food, which can be confusing.  This is a pollen allergy.  The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome are an itchy mouth or tongue, or swelling of the lips or tongue. Symptoms are generally short-lived because the cross-reacting allergens are quickly digested, and do not involve any other part of the body. These symptoms can help distinguish oral allergy from a true food allergy.

    Who Is At Risk For Anaphylaxis

    • People who have experienced anaphylaxis before
    • People with allergies to foods, insect stings, medicine and other triggers

    If you are at-risk:

    • Keep your epinephrine auto-injectors on-hand at all times and be ready to use them if an emergency occurs. 
    • Talk with your doctor about your triggers and your symptoms. Your doctor may tell you to see an allergist. An allergist can help you identify your allergies and learn to manage your risk of severe reactions.
    • Ask your doctor for an anaphylaxis action plan. This will help you know what to do if you experience anaphylaxis.

    Allergy Symptoms

    If My Child Has Allergies What Should I Do

    Anaphylaxis Symptoms : 11 Pictures Of Anaphylaxis Symptoms ...

    If your child has allergies, help keep them safe:

    • Educate them about the allergy.
    • Make sure they carry their injector with them and know how to use it.
    • Inform staff at your child’s school of the allergy and share the treatment plan with them.
    • Educate any adults who care for your child about the allergy and how to use the injector.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Anaphylaxis is when you have a severe allergic reaction to an allergen, such as a certain food or insect bite. Anaphylactic shock can be life-threatening. If you notice anaphylaxis symptoms, inject yourself with epinephrine right away. Then call 911 or get to the emergency room. Prompt anaphylaxis treatment can save your life. Make sure to carry your injector wherever you go. Try to avoid triggers. If you have allergy symptoms that are hard to control or you went into anaphylactic shock, talk to your healthcare provider.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/13/2021.


    Are There Any Treatments For Food Allergy

    Currently, for most food allergies, avoiding the food you are allergic to is the only way to protect against a reaction. There has been good news in the past few years however, regarding peanut allergy. In January of 2020, the FDA approved the first treatment for peanut allergy for children and teenagers between the ages of 4 and 17 years. The treatment is named Palforzia and is an oral therapy that must be taken every day. It works by modifying the immune system. By exposing the allergic child with small increasing amounts of a purified peanut protein, it makes the risk of an allergic reaction by accidental ingestion less likely to occur or to be less severe. Nevertheless, it is not a cure, and does not remove the peanut allergy. In addition, there is a skin patch for those with peanut allergies that is being reviewed by the FDA for approval. The patch places a small amount of a peanut allergen onto the skin daily, to make you less sensitive to peanuts. Existing research is looking at ways to make you less sensitive to food allergies, and there is a lot of hope for therapies that will manage food allergies in the future.

    What To Expect After Anaphylactic Shock

    Anaphylaxis is extremely dangerous and can cause serious damage or be fatal if you don’t receive immediate medical attention. Your recovery process will likely depend on how quickly you get help. 

    Complications are common as a result of anaphylactic shock, especially for people over 50 years of age or who have existing cardiac or respiratory issues. These complications will need to be addressed, diagnosed and treated on an individual basis by medical professionals. 

    What Can I Do To Prevent Anaphylaxis

    • Know your allergens. An accurate diagnosis is important. An allergist can help you create a plan to keep you safe.
    • Avoid your allergens.
    • If you have a drug allergy, be familiar with both the generic name and brand names of medicines that cause you to have a severe allergic reaction. And be aware of ingredients in a combination product. Become familiar with medicines that might cause a cross-reaction. Read drug information carefully.
    • If you have a food allergy, be careful about everything you eat. Check ingredients on all food labels. Wash hands, and use clean surfaces and utensils to prepare food. Ask restaurant staff how they prepare foods.
    • If you react to insect stings or exercise, talk to your doctor about how to avoid these reactions.
    • Carry your epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times. This is very important and can save your life or the life of a loved one.
    • Prepare with a plan. Have your doctor help you create an anaphylaxis action plan.
    • Talk to your doctor and caregivers. Make sure they know the names of any medications you are allergic to and what symptoms you had when you took them. Give them a list of every drug you take. Some common medicines, like beta-blockers, can worsen anaphylaxis.
    • Wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace. It lets others know of your allergy in an emergency. Also, keep a card in your wallet or purse that explains your allergy.

    What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Food Allergies

    If you suspect you have a food allergy, allergy/immunology providers can perform a skin test to confirm it. During a skin test, your healthcare provider:

  • Applies a small amount of different types of allergens to your skin on your arms or back.
  • Makes tiny pricks or scratches through the allergens.
  • Measures your reactions to the allergens after tests have been in place for 15 minutes.
  • Areas of your skin that become red and itchy indicate an allergy. Your healthcare provider uses this information to determine what you’re allergic to.

    Your healthcare provider may also use a radioallergosorbent blood test . A RAST checks the levels of allergic antibody to different allergens in your blood. Raised levels of specific antibodies can indicate an allergy.

    Could An Allergy Test Cause Anaphylaxis

    As with any exposure to an allergen, the possibility for anaphylaxis is there, but it’s relatively low compared to other minor reactions usually experienced if an allergy test comes back positive.

    Let’s put this into perspective. An estimated 20 deaths from anaphylaxis are reported each year in the UK while the odds of being struck by lightning are one in 1.2 million . With the UK population currently standing at around 664.4 million, that makes the average person more likely to become a temporary human lightning rod than being axed by a case of anaphylactic shock.

    Death by food allergies is also less likely than accidental death in the European population, according to a 2013 study . The point is, while anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, it’s quite unlikely that you will die from allergy test induced anaphylactic shock.

    Q 5: Is There Any Research Into Food Allergy

    Research into why food allergy has become more common and prevention strategies is ongoing. It is not understood why food allergy has increased in recent years and possible explanations include:

    • Hygiene hypothesis, which proposes that less exposure to infections in early life is associated with an increased chance of developing allergies.
    • Delayed introduction of allergenic foods such as egg, peanut or tree nuts.
    • Methods of food processing, such as roasted versus boiled peanuts.
    • Development of allergy to food by skin exposure, such as the use of food-based skin products.

    Research into food allergy treatment, management and epidemiology is also ongoing, including the areas of:

    • Oral immunotherapy for food allergy, also known as desensitisation, to switch off food allergy once it has developed.
    • Family history of food allergy, including why most children with food allergy do not have parents with food allergy, why their brothers and sisters have a slightly higher chance of having food allergy, and how this is affected by nationality and where the children and parents were born.

    What Causes Food Allergies

    Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.

    As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

    Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.

    Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

    • milk
    • shellfish
    • some fruit and vegetables

    Most children that have a food allergy will have experienced during infancy. The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to have a food allergy.

    It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often have other allergic conditions, such as , hay fever and .

    How Can I Best Cope With Allergies

    17 Best images about Anaphylaxis on Pinterest

    If you know you have severe allergies to food or other things, prepare ahead of time:

    • Carry your injector: Have your epinephrine injection kit with you at all times.
    • Have ID: Wear jewelry or carry a card that identifies your allergy. This ID can save your life in emergencies.
    • Don’t wait to inject: Use your epinephrine injection promptly if you come into contact with your allergen.
    • Tell your providers: If you have drug allergies, tell your healthcare provider before any test or treatment. That includes dental care.
    • Educate loved ones: Tell family and friends about the allergy and your triggers. Make sure they know how to recognize anaphylaxis symptoms. Also explain how to use the injector, so they can help you in case of a reaction.

    Preventing Food Allergy In Children

    Allergy prevention in children is an active area of research. Findings to date indicate that: 

    • prenatal – there is no conclusive evidence that avoiding allergens in pregnancy will help prevent allergies in your child
    • postnatal – exclusive breastfeeding during the first four to six months appears to protect against the development of allergies in early childhood.
    • introducing solid foods around six months is recommended, preferably while continuing to breastfeed
    • breastfeeding – avoidance of a food by a woman while breastfeeding is not recommended 
    • soymilk formula – studies have shown that using soymilk formula does not prevent the development of allergies in children
    • partially hydrolysed cow’s milk-based formula is not recommended to prevent the development of food allergy.

    What Other Anaphylaxis Treatments Might Be Necessary In Emergencies

    If the person can’t breathe, medical professionals may need to:

    • Place a tube through the nose or mouth into the airway.
    • Perform emergency surgery, called a , to place the tube directly into the trachea .

    Providers may need to give other treatments for shock, including:

    • IV fluids.
    • IV medication to help the heart and circulatory system.
    • and to reduce symptoms, after they’ve stabilized the person.


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