Wheat Allergy – Symptoms and Causes

Wheat allergy is a common allergy in the food category. It is an allergic reaction to proteins found in wheat. So, when a wheat allergic person inhales or consumes wheat, the immune system will treat it as a threat. 

As a result, your body will try to kill the wheat proteins as a part of your defence mechanism. A typical treatment for wheat allergies consists of a wheat-free diet plan and medication to control the symptoms. 

In addition, wheat allergies are primarily diagnosed in children than adults. By the age of 16, most children outgrow their allergies. You may need to take a wheat intolerance test to know if you are allergic to wheat. 

Symptoms

Wheat allergy symptoms can vary from severe to mild, depending on a person’s immune system. These symptoms usually show up in a matter of minutes. However, it may take a few hours sometimes to trigger a wheat allergic reaction. There are several symptoms you may experience when dealing with this allergy. A few commonly found symptoms are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Skin rashes
  • Eczema
  • Diarrhoea
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Nose congestion
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache or cramps
  • Swollen throat or mouth
  • Irritated or itchy mouth or throat
  • Swollen stomach 
  • Asthma

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction to wheat. It is a medical emergency, so you need to call for medical help. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Tightened throat
  • Chest tightening 
  • Chest pain
  • Struggling to breathe
  • The skin colour may turn blue or pale
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Causes

Wheat allergies are caused by wheat proteins. So, when a wheat protein enters your body, the immune system will release histamine to trigger the wheat allergy symptoms. In addition, a wheat intolerance test can help determine if your body reacts the same way to wheat. 

Moreover, a fundamental way to prevent these symptoms is to avoid foods with wheat or wheat proteins. However, the market is flooded with such foods, so you need to be very careful. 

Here are some examples of food items you need to watch out for:

Wheat Allergy Who Gets It

Baked Items

Since baking includes wheat flour as a primary ingredient, you may have to read out the labels very carefully when selecting a food. These may include food items such as cakes, muffins, cookies, bread, doughnuts, crackers, bread, pretzels, breadcrumbs, pizza, etc. 

Cereals

Processed cereals usually used in morning breakfast are mostly made with wheat. So, you need to avoid them unless you do not find wheat as an ingredient. 

Pasta

All types of pasta such as spaghetti, macaroni, noodles, couscous, and penne usually include wheat. Therefore, eating such dishes can trigger your wheat allergy.

Grains

Grains such as oats, rye, and barley, include wheat proteins. However, you need to consult your doctor to know if they are safe for you.

Drinks

Several drinks contain wheat proteins, such as ale, beer, and root beer. Therefore, you need to stay away from such drinks and look for a better alternative.

Dishes

Dishes made from wheat, such as dumplings, waffles, bread coated chicken, and gravy for meals, are triggers for your allergic reaction. 

Dairy Products

Dairy products such as ice cream, malted milk, or even ice-cream cones contain wheat.

Other Food Items

Coffee, meat, shrimp, and crab substitutes can cause a wheat allergy reaction. Moreover, food ingredients such as instant mixes, modified food starch, soy sauce, gelatinized starch, ketchup, natural flavourings, etc., are dangerous for a wheat allergic person. 

Non Food Items

Wheat allergies can be triggered by inedible items such as bath and cosmetic products, Play-Doh, etc.