Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Reaction to Food Overview

Another name for Reaction to Food is Food Reactions.

What are food reactions?
A person with a food reaction becomes ill after eating a particular type of food. The illness may be caused by the food itself, or it may be caused by toxins in the food. Types of food reactions include food allergies, food poisoning, and food intolerance.

What are the symptoms of food reactions?
Symptoms of food reactions depend on the underlying cause. Common symptoms of food poisoning include cramping abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea is the most common symptom and stools may be watery, bloody, or contain yellow or green mucus. Symptoms of food allergies include diarrhea, abdominal pain, excessive gas, vomiting, hives, rash, itching, nasal congestion, eye redness, eye swelling, facial swelling, wheezing, and mouth or tongue swelling.

How does the doctor treat food reactions?
Treatment for food reactions depends on the underlying cause. Treatment varies based on the species of bacteria that may be involved. General treatment includes clear liquid diet, hydration, and fever control. Some may benefit from intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Treatment for food allergies may include avoidance or certain foods, epinephrine injections, antihistamines, corticosteroids, leukotriene antagonist medications, and immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Continue to Reaction to Food Symptoms

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Reaction to Food References
  1. Jansen SC, van Dusseldorp M, Bottema KC, Dubois AE. Intolerance to dietary biogenic amines: a review. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003 Sep;91(3):233-40. [14533654]
  2. Lea R, Whorwell PJ. The role of food intolerance in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;34(2):247-55. [15862933]
  3. McGough N, Cummings JH. Coeliac disease: a diverse clinical syndrome caused by intolerance of wheat, barley and rye. Proc Nutr Soc. 2005 Nov;64(4):434-50. [16313685]
  4. Montalto M, Curigliano V, Santoro L, Vastola M, Cammarota G, Manna R, Gasbarrini A, Gasbarrini G. Management and treatment of lactose malabsorption. World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jan 14;12(2):187-91. [16482616]
  5. Osborn DA, Sinn J. Soy formula for prevention of allergy and food intolerance in infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(3):CD003741. [15266499]
  6. Patole S. Strategies for prevention of feed intolerance in preterm neonates: a systematic review. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2005 Jul;18(1):67-76. [16105795]
  7. Shuttleworth A. Food allergies, food intolerance and food-related anaphylaxis. Nurs Times. 2004 Jan 27-Feb 2;100(4):32-3. [14974260]
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