Does your tongue tingle or your lips swell when you eat something? Do you get red, itchy skin? If so, you could have a food allergy. Food allergy symptoms send someone to the hospital every three minutes. Symptoms vary and could be shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, reduced blood pressure, leading to weak pulse, confusion or fainting.

Common food allergies include those to milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. It’s the proteins in these foods that trigger an abnormal immune response in people allergic to the food. Some people have allergies from related species. For example, ragweed sufferers may experience symptoms when they eat melons, bananas, or cucumber. If you’re allergic to grasses, you may react to melon, tomato and oranges.

If you have a food allergy, the best thing you can do is become the expert by reading food labels, asking the cook questions about ingredients and the way food is prepared. Consider carrying a wallet-sized “Chef Card” with you to share with the kitchen staff when you eat out. Find them at

This is Judy Barbe helping you LiveBest!