Do You Know the Signs of a Food Allergy?

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Typically, people associate food allergies with children. This may be because children are more likely to have food allergies, but often grow out of them. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, people can develop food allergies at any age. This means that older adults can suddenly develop a food allergy to a food they’ve never had a problem with before. Home health care providers who are knowledgeable about food allergies and know what signs to look for will be better equipped to deal with an allergic reaction if one occurs.

Home Health Care Ashland OH - Do You Know the Signs of a Food Allergy?

Home Health Care Ashland OH – Do You Know the Signs of a Food Allergy?

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

Many people confuse food allergies with food intolerance. The main difference is that a food allergy involves the body’s immune system while a food intolerance does not. When a person develops a food allergy, the immune system erroneously determines that a certain food is dangerous. It then tells cells to release immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is a kind of antibody. Your aging relative won’t have a reaction when this first happens. However, the next time they eat the food, the IgE will cause the immune system to release histamines and other kinds of chemicals. These substances result in allergy symptoms.

When a person has a food intolerance, they won’t have the symptoms of a food allergy. A food intolerance is usually a problem with the digestive system. In other words, an intolerance is a case of a food “not agreeing with” the person’s stomach. They might experience bloating, gas, an upset stomach, or other digestive symptoms.

Food Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms of a food allergy can range from merely uncomfortable to severe and life-threatening. They can show up within a couple minutes of eating the food to a few hours.

The foods that are most likely to trigger an allergic reaction in adults are:

  • Shellfish.
  • Peanuts.
  • Nuts that grow on trees.
  • Fish.


The symptoms of a food allergy include:

  • feeling of itching or tingling in the mouth.
  • Skin reactions, like hives or itchiness.
  • Swelling, which may occur in the face or throat, but may also happen in other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing.
  • Congestion.
  • Pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.


Home health care providers should seek emergency medical attention for older adults if symptoms of anaphylaxis appear.

The symptoms are:

  • Airways becoming constricted or tight.
  • Swelling in the throat or feeling like there is a lump in the throat that interferes with breathing.
  • Going into shock, including a decrease in blood pressure.
  • Fast pulse.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Losing consciousness.


Home health care providers who notice signs of food allergies, even mild ones, in their aging relatives should discuss them with the senior’s doctor. Severe food allergies may require the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. If so, Home health care providers should be certain the injector is always on hand and that they know how to use it.


If you are considering Home Health Care Services in Ashland OH, call the caring staff at Central Star Home Health at (419) 610-2161.  Providing services for families in Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville, Mt. Gilead, Loudonville, Crestline, Galion, Shelby, Ashland, Wooster, and the surrounding areas.
About the author: Stephen Sternbach
Stephen Sternbach has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Star Multi Care Services since 1987. After the sale of the New York and New Jersey operations of Star Multi Care Services, Sternbach brought the company private where he remains President and CEO of this newly developed $22M home healthcare company. With Sternbach at the helm, Star Multi Care Services employs more than 550 employees, in six offices throughout Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. From 1978 to 1986, Sternbach was associated with Automated Data Processing, Inc. (“ADP”)–a provider of information services, where he held several marketing positions before becoming the Director of Sales. 1999-2008 Sternbach was an active participant on the Board of Directors for Proginet–a computer software company based in Garden City, New York. He also served on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society from 1996-2002. In 1996, Stephen Sternbach was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young, Paine Webber and NASDAQ. Sternbach was also named in Crain’s New York Business Article, “40 Under 40” Successful Business Executives/Future Business Leaders in 1995. While maintaining a diversity of business and personal interests, Sternbach concentrated most of his efforts over the past 28 years towards continuously improving the quality of services delivered by the Star Multi Care Services’ family of companies. Stephen Sternbach holds a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Relations and Personnel Administration from Ithaca College.