What is Wheat Allergy?
Wheat allergy is immunologically mediated reaction to wheat proteins which occurs within minutes to hours after taking wheat containing food. Even a small amount of food is sufficient to trigger allergy symptoms.
In some individuals, a food allergy can cause severe allergy symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
Wheat is a cereal grass of the genus Triticum. Wheat is one of the oldest and most important of the cereal crops. Sources of wheat proteins
Some sources of wheat proteins are obvious, such as bread, but all wheat proteins can be found in many prepared foods and even in some cosmetics, bath products and play dough.
Wheat Allergy Causes
In Wheat Allergy, our immune system recognize wheat as a harmful substance and react against it. After a sensitization phase, when wheat is introduced for second time the body produces huge number of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to neutralize the protein (allergen) in wheat.
Cross linking reaction lead to degranulation of mast cell releasing large number of powerful chemical mediators including histamine and other chemicals leading to sign and symptoms of allergic inflammation.
Wheat Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms of Wheat allergy can ranges from mild allergic reaction to severe allergic reaction or even life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Usually, food allergy symptoms develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food.
The most common symptoms of Wheat Allergy include:
- Tingling sensation or itching in and around the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, throat or other parts of the body
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Cough, wheezing or trouble breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Diagnosis of Wheat Allergy
Till date there is no ideal test for Wheat allergy. A physician should consider the following:
- Family history of allergies.
- A physical examination.
- A skin prick test.
- A blood test.
- Elimination diet.
- Oral food challenge.
Wheat Allergy Treatment
Avoidance is the best preventive measure. However, an individual may unknowingly come in contact with the food and lead to an allergic reaction.
For mild to moderate allergic reaction: over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamines are helpful.
For severe allergic reaction: If there is severe reaction or anaphylaxis one must inject adrenaline/ epinephrine in an appropriate dosage.
If someone has adrenaline autoinjector then he can use it otherwise one has to attend the nearest hospital as early as possible. One must carry his adrenaline autoinjector all the time if an allergist prescribed it.