A wheat allergy is, simply, an allergic reaction to foods containing wheat. Wheat allergies are often confused with celiac disease, but they are not the same thing. Like celiac disease, the only treatment for a wheat allergy is avoiding wheat/gluten. Many of the symptoms of a wheat allergy are the same as the symptoms of celiac disease. For a wheat allergy, they are (from Mayo Clinic):
- Swelling, itching or irritation of the mouth or throat
- Hives, itchy rash or swelling of the skin
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Cramps, nausea or vomiting
- Anaphylaxis (more on this right below)
For some people, a wheat allergy may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis when a person is subjected to wheat. Anaphylaxis may cause (also from the Mayo Clinic):
- Swelling or tightness of the throat
- Chest pain or tightness
- Severe difficulty breathing
- Trouble swallowing
- Pale, blue skin color
- Dizziness or fainting
- Fast heartbeat
Obviously if you experience this, seek immediate medical care.
Unlike celiac disease, though, a wheat allergy may not be a lifelong disorder. A large part of whether or not you outgrow it depends on when the allergy first appears. For young children, a wheat allergy usually develops during infancy or early toddlers years. Children often outgrow the allergy by the time they are three to five years old. Wheat allergies are much less common in adolescents and adults.
Since the symptoms of a wheat allergy mirror those of other conditions, it is important to see a doctor if you believe you might have this allergy. The doctor will be able to accurately diagnose your condition.