Common conditions

A common sense guide to food allergies

Knowing how to identify trigger foods and reactions is essential for anyone living with allergies.

Fit&Well blog
July 2015

Food allergies occur in about one in 20 children and one in 50 adults, according to the Australasian Institute of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. That’s because most children outgrow their allergies and fortunately most are not severe.

The bad news is that, over the past decade, there have been five times as many hospital admissions for food allergies in children aged four and under in Australia, the USA and the UK.

The most common food allergy triggers are:

  • eggs
  • cow’s milk
  • nuts
  • peanuts.

Less common are:

  • seafood or fish
  • soy
  • sesame
  • wheat.

Nuts, peanuts, seeds and seafood are the allergies that tend to be lifelong.

Food allergy symptoms may include:

  • hives
  • swelling of the face, lips and/or eyes
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • runny nose
  • abdominal pain.

A severe reaction may include:

  • difficult or noisy breathing
  • swelling of the tongue or throat
  • difficulty speaking or hoarseness
  • wheezing or persistent cough
  • dizziness and/or collapse
  • unusually pale skin and floppiness (in young children).

Managing food allergies involves:

  • strict avoidance of the food trigger
  • carrying the prescribed autoimmune injector at all times
  • recognising symptoms and knowing how to react appropriately
  • knowing how to read and understand food labels
  • always telling wait staff about the allergy when eating out
  • being aware of cross-contamination in food preparation.
  • cow’s milk


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