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Wheat Allergies and Wheat Allergy Symptoms

Updated on December 27, 2010

What are Wheat Allergies?

Wheat allergy is a type of food allergy, that is caused by an abnormal immune system reaction to one or more proteins that are found in wheat. In order to develop a wheat allergy, you need to eat wheat at least once. This allows the immune system to be exposed to the protein. After the body is exposed, the immune system then learns to identify these proteins, and when these proteins are introduced in the body again, the body attacks them with histamines triggering an allergic reaction. Additionally, wheat allergies are one of the eight most common food allergies , and is more common in children. It affects about six percent of children under the age of three and is much less common in adults. Wheat allergies are often confused with Celiac Disease, but they are not the same thing.

Wheat Allergy Symptoms

There are many symptoms that are caused by wheat allergies, however the most common ones are associated with three classic allergy symptoms:

  • eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • asthma
  • anaphylaxis (very rarely)


Other symptoms:

  • Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat
  • Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anaphylaxis

Some people that have wheat allergies may face a life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Some signs and symptoms of this are:

  • Swelling or tightness of the throat
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Severe difficulty breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Pale, blue skin color
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weak pulse

Common Foods That Contain Wheat

  • All baked goods (including bread and pizza crusts), unless prepared with wheat-free flours
  • Pasta, whether egg-free or not
  • Some baking powders
  • Most batter-fried foods
  • Flour-thickened sauces, casseroles, and gravies
  • Canned soup and chili
  • Cereal (both hot and cold)
  • Salad dressings, barbecue sauce, soy sauce and other condiments
  • Beer
  • Candy (especially with nougat)
  • Sausage, meatloaf, and other dishes where breadcrumbs are used as a filler

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