ZocdocAnswersCan someone be allergic to food?

Question

Can someone be allergic to food?

I know this sounds strange, but can someone be allergic to food, generally? I've tried keeping a food journal, but it seems like I break out in hives and have other symptoms of allergy no matter what I eat. What is the best way to resolve this question?

Answer

Your symptoms sound severe. Thoroughly answering your question will be challenging since I would need to see the hives to make sure they are due to an allergy. Nevertheless, I think I will be able to shed a little light on your situation. An allergy to all foods would be exceedingly rare. The most common food allergies are to peanuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, and wheat. Most patients who have a food allergy are allergic to 1 or 2 of these foods, but not all of them. The only way to tell is to be seen by an allergy specialist who can test you for all the common food allergies. Another possibility that could explain your symptoms is Celiac disease. This is essentially an allergy to the protein gluten which is found in wheat. It is common enough that you consume it very regularly. Symptoms are usually indigestion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and a skin rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis. It is possible that the hives you are reporting could be this rash. It is treated with a gluten free diet. My suggestion is that you continue keeping you food and symptom journal and bring it along with pictures of your skin symptoms to your primary care physician. He or she will know what the next best step is for diagnosis and treatment. Good luck.

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