People with wheat allergies can respond with a variety of possible signs and symptoms, including breathing difficulties, nausea, hives, bloated stomach and an inability to focus.
Allergic reactions to wheat may be caused by eating foods with wheat or even by inhaling flour containing wheat. Allergic reactions to wheat usually begin within minutes or a few hours after eating or inhaling wheat.
When you have a wheat allergy, your immune system is hypersensitive to one of the proteins in wheat, so your system reacts against the protein as though it were some foreign invader. You can have a reaction from ingesting wheat or inhaling baking flour. Allergic reactions to wheat can range from mild symptoms such as stomach upset, to life threatening symptoms referred to as anaphylaxis.
What Is a Wheat Allergy?
A wheat allergy occurs when a person’s body has built up a specific antibody to wheat protein. Antibodies are disease fighting agents. When wheat is consumed, the body believes that the wheat is harmful to the body and produces an allergy-causing antibody to fight the wheat protein.
Allergic reactions to wheat and other cereals are most common in infants and usually resolve within the first few years of life. If you have a food allergy, eating a tiny amount of the offending food can cause a severe reaction, often within minutes, and can be life-threatening. A standard blood or skin-prick test can tell you if you have a wheat allergy, but cannot show whether you have wheat intolerance or not.
What Are The Symptoms Of Wheat Allergy?
A child or adult with wheat allergy is likely to develop symptoms within minutes to hours after eating something containing wheat. Symptoms include gas, bloating and diarrhea as well as stomach cramps and vomiting. Although some people may experience no physical symptoms at all. Left untreated, gluten intolerance causes other conditions, such as osteoporosis from poor nutrient absorption. It also puts you at risk for other bowel disorders, such as cancer. There is no cure for gluten intolerance but, by avoiding gluten, you can heal and even reverse the damage to your intestinal tract. Wheat allergy symptoms include:
- Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat
- Nasal congestion
- Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Cramps, nausea or vomiting
Foods To Be Avoided
Conventional medical advice in dealing with food related allergy is to avoid the substance that you are sensitive to. Since wheat is a staple diet in the US, avoidance becomes a major nightmare. This type of avoidance diet severely limits the selection of foods and may even require the assistance or supervision of a dietician.
When avoiding wheat, you are actually avoiding one or more of the proteins in wheat, including gluten, gliadin, globulin, and albumin. Gluten, however, is quite difficult to avoid. You will need to be aware of the following foods since they contain wheat:
- Alcoholic beverages, some baby foods, barley malt
- Batter-fried foods, biscuits, bologna
- Bouillon, bran, bread, bread crumbs
- Bulgur, buns, cakes, candy
- Cereals, chocolate, cocoa, cold cuts
- Cookies, cornbread, crackers, cream of wheat
- Croutons, doughnuts, dumplings, farina
- Flours, graham crackers, granola, gravies
- Hot dogs, ice cream, ice cream cones, liverwurst
- Macaroni, malt products, malted milk, matzos
- Mayonnaise, MSG, muffins, noodles
- Ovaltine, pancake mixes, pasta
- Pastries, pepper, pies, pita bread, pizza
- Pretzels, puddings, pumpernickel bread, rolls
- Rye bread, sauces, sausages, soups
- Soy sauce, tamari, spaghetti, tortillas
- Vermicelli, waffles, wheat germ, some yeasts
Treatment And Home Remedies
- The person should wear a medical identification bracelet that can describe the allergy and can help a person if he/she experiences anaphylaxis.
- Make sure that everyone knows that the child or person has allergy on wheat, and knows about the signs and symptoms of wheat exposure. By enrolling in a first aid class, you are prepared to handle an allergic reaction.
- Reading the labels of food, making sure that the food does not contain wheat that the person is allergic to.
- Follow recipes of wheat-free cookbooks so that the person can enjoy eating the food that he/she cooked.
- Shop for gluten-free foods in stores and supermarkets which are safe to eat by people who are allergic to wheat.
- If a person dines out, just order simple dishes by avoiding foods that contains sources of wheat proteins like sauces, some deep-fried food and those that might contain wheat.