The term gluten allergy describes the body’s immune system’s response to a food. It can trigger some rather unpleasant symptoms! It is one of the top 8 most common allergies today, and is most common in children.
The symptoms of gluten and wheat allergies vary between people, but can include generalised rashes, itching, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling of the lips and soft tissues, breathing difficulties and even anaphylactic shock. Symptoms usually show up within a couple of minutes of eating food containing wheat or gluten, but can sometimes delay up to a couple of hours.
The most severe symptom of an allergy could be anaphylaxis – a severe difficulty breathing. In most cases, this would be treated with an EpiPen.
The symptoms of intolerances in general focus more on the stomach and bowels, whereas symptoms of allergies can be more general, for example difficultly breathing and skin rashes.
As your body reacts so badly to gluten, the obvious answer is to stick to a gluten free diet. One notable difference between people who are allergic to gluten and people with coeliac disease is that allergies can change over time, so after a symptom-free period you could try re-introducing small amounts of gluten into your diet if you wish. Always ask your doctor if you’re not sure!
It can be tough! Our founder Emma Killilea was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, as well as coeliac disease, back in 2002 – read her story.