Many people get sick when they eat certain foods, but that doesn’t mean they actually have a food allergy. If you’re having problems that seem to be caused by what you eat, pay attention to the symptoms to determine if you have a food allergy. That way, you can have your problem properly treated.

While very uncommon, anaphylaxis is probably the most well-known symptom of food allergies. This is when several allergy symptoms come on very quickly and occur all at once. This can be very dangerous, and if not treated immediately, can even result in death.

When most people think of food allergies, they usually think of something serious. While most people who are strongly allergic are very aware of when they are having a reaction, there are people with mild allergies who don’t even know they’re having one. Here are some of the more common, but less severe food allergy symptoms:

* Itching
* Rash
* Headache
* Itching, watery eyes
* Upset stomach

Especially with more mild reactions, symptoms can vary with time and travel through your body as the food does. You may feel sick to your stomach at first, then later have a reaction in the intestines. Symptoms can also take some time to develop if the beginning of your digestive tract doesn’t react, and can increase as the food moves through your system.

The best way to determine if you have a milder allergy is to keep a food journal. Just write down everything you eat and how you’re feeling. Then go back and look at abnormal symptoms or times you’re feeling ill. You may find they’re triggered by a certain food.

Always review your journal with a doctor because they are better qualified to diagnose a reaction. For instance, if you had a reaction after eating a meal with several ingredients, you probably have no idea which one is causing you to be sick. It could even be a small amount of preservative or other ingredient you didn’t know was in the food. A doctor can help narrow down the choices based on symptoms and then run tests.

After discussing your symptoms, your doctor will likely perform a skin allergy test. This involves putting a small amount of liquid containing the allergen on your skin, usually on your back, and then pricking the skin. Don’t try to test yourself for allergies, especially if your reaction is severe. If you were to have an extreme reaction, a doctor’s office is the best place to be so you can be treated immediately.

While foods may be triggering your symptoms, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are allergic to that food. Often people who react to a food often are simply unable to digest the food properly or have some other digestive issue. That’s another important reason to see your doctor. Only a small number of people actually have true food allergies.

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