Symptoms of food allergy occur shortly eating the food in question. They consist of the sudden onset swelling of the lips & tongue, itch, puffiness of the eyes and a nettle type rash or hives. More severe episodes can cause breathing problems, low blood pressure and shock. This is know as anaphylaxis and it is is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment with adrenalin, antihistamine and steroids. Food allergies are common in Ireland, 6-8% of children and 1-2% of adults being affected. Peanut allergy is very common affecting 2 in every hundred children. Other foods commonly causing allergy include egg, tree nuts, milk, & kiwi. Shellfish allergy is more common in adults.
Food allergies are often associated with eczema and may also be observed in individuals who suffer from asthma and allergic nasal disease. Patients with food allergies should have their allergies diagnosed and have a written management plan and be taught how to use an adrenalin pen where appropriate.