An allergy is the immune system's method of reacting to an outside substance, perceived as a threat. The body can be allergic to any number of substances, including pollen, dander, plants and food.
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One of the most common food allergens, especially in children, is wheat. In this type of allergy the body reacts to one or more proteins found in wheat.
The most common symptoms of a wheat allergy are very much like those of any other allergen--hives, asthma, skin disorders. You may also have headaches, lethargy, dizziness and itchy or watery eyes. Food allergies can be life-threatening as they can develop into anaphylaxis, which is a dangerous constriction of the airways.
Because wheat is such a common food, it is difficult to diagnose a wheat allergy. A physician will use laboratory tests to determine a diagnoses.
As with most allergies, avoiding the trigger is the best treatment. Emergency medications, such as injectable epinephrine, can manage sudden severe allergic reactions.
Doctors will usually advise that the patient switch to a special diet that eliminates wheat. This can be difficult as wheat is present in so much of our food. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, however, all food labels must clearly identify allergen ingredients.
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