What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Wheat?

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  • Written By: Henry Gaudet
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Images By: Marilyn Barbone, n/a, Vidady, Greg Friese, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2018
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According to some studies, an allergic reaction to wheat may be linked to allergies to other substances, especially food allergies. The sufferer may experience common allergy symptoms such as skin or respiratory irritation. Digestive complaints may arise, and vomiting might also be caused by an allergic reaction to wheat. Life threatening symptoms such as anaphylaxis can also be caused by this allergy, either immediately after eating wheat or triggered by exercise or exertion after eating.

Allergic reactions take place when a normally harmless substance triggers an immune reaction. An allergic reaction to wheat is an attempt by the body to repel the perceived threat of wheat protein by producing antibodies to fight off these proteins. The wheat causes no direct harm, but when eaten, the body responds with these antibodies which can trigger the allergic reaction.

Skin complaints are among the most common allergic responses. Itching, redness, rashes, hives, and eczema are common allergic reactions to wheat and other allergens. Swelling is another common allergic reaction to wheat, a condition which can be especially dangerous in the mouth and throat, where swelling can block the airway.


Many common symptoms of allergies are attempts by the body to get rid of the allergen. Airborne irritants may cause the body to respond by causing the eyes to tear and the nose to run, but even when allergens are ingested, such as with wheat, these symptoms may still occur. Coughing, sneezing and nasal congestion may also be caused by a wheat allergy. Less common symptoms of a wheat allergy include headache, chest pain, aching joints and muscles, and dizziness. The sufferer may also be listless or lethargic.

While some reactions are common to all allergies, other symptoms suggest that a food such as wheat is responsible. Irritation or swelling in the mouth or throat is likely to be caused by direct contact with the allergen. Wheat allergies may also disrupt normal digestion, causing symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), among others.

Anaphylaxis, a full body allergic response, is a very serious and life threatening allergic reaction to wheat. The reaction may occur immediately after eating the food containing wheat, but wheat allergies are also associated with exercise-induced anaphylaxis, where symptoms are triggered by exertion shortly after ingesting the allergen. Whether immediate or exercise-induced, this sudden and severe reaction is considered very dangerous and usually requires immediate emergency medical attention.



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