A food allergy is when the body's immune system reacts in an abnormal way to certain foods.
Common signs of an allergic reaction
While any allergic reaction can be unpleasant and upsetting, more serious reactions can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Signs of an allergic reaction include:
- an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
- raised itchy red skin rash (hives or a 'nettle rash')
- swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and the roof of the mouth
- anaphylactic shock - the most severe form of allergic reaction which should be treated as an emergency.
Common food allergies
In adults, the foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:
- some types of fruit such as apples, pears, kiwi fruit and peaches
- some types of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, celery and parsnip
- crustaceans (shellfish), such as crab, lobster and prawns
- tree nuts, such as walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds and pistachios
You can find more information about the symptoms and treatment of food allergies at the NHS website.