Wheat allergy is one of the more common food allergies in infants and children, and can usually be outgrown before reaching adulthood. In some cases adults who develop a wheat allergy are likely to retain it. Signs and symptoms of a wheat allergy reaction can range from mild, such as hives and eczema to severe, such as bloated stomach, depression, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and life-threatening anaphylaxis. Other more common symptoms include nausea, urticaria and atopy. Always read ingredient labels and ask restaurant employees to identify wheat ingredients. Communication is the key for ensuring a safe, enjoyable allergen free meal. Use or “Food Allergy Translate App” or your “Personal Food Allergy Translate Cards” to gain better understanding!
Wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to foods containing wheat (Triticeae-family: wheat, rye or barley). Wheat can be found in many foods, and it is a basic and main ingredient in many food products (baked goods, cakes, breads, main dishes, even soy sauce and processed meats, etc). Therefore wheat allergy is a challenge for the diet, because wheat is the predominant grain product in so many countries. Wheat-free alternatives are amaranth, millet, corn, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, chia seed, tapioca and their flours. People who are allergic to wheat products often may tolerate other grains. However, about 20-25% of people with wheat allergy may be also allergic to other grains.
Completely avoiding wheat is the primary treatment for wheat allergy. Wheat allergy is sometimes confused with celiac disease, but celiac is a different condition; however signs and symptoms can be similar and life-long too. A wheat allergy generates an allergy-causing antibody to proteins found in wheat (by the way, there are many allergenic components in wheat). In case of celiac disease, one particular protein in wheat (gluten) causes an abnormal immune system reaction in the intestines of affected people and damages the lining of the small intestine or the gut wall, which then stops the body from absorbing nutrients. It is important to distinguish allergic reactions to wheat from celiac disease, but our Food Allergy Translate App can be used for both purposes.
Allergic reactions to wheat and other cereals are usually occurring within a few hours of eating these grains. Occasionally delayed reactions occur after the food is eaten regularly over several days, resulting in eczema, asthma or sometimes diarrhea, or poor weight gain. Wheat allergy tends to differ between populations (Italian, Japanese, Danish or Swiss) indicating a potential genetic component to wheat proteins.
Many countries require that all packaged food products that contain wheat as an ingredient must list the word “Wheat” on the label. However this is not the case in all countries at all. Many restaurants are especially not following such guidelines and no long-term solutions exist for informing guests with food allergies about the potential presence of the nine major allergens. Do not let that eating out becomes one of your top concerns. Read all product labels carefully before purchasing and consuming any item to be informed about the potential presence of the nine major allergens.
Read ingredient labels carefully, even if you would not expect that the product contains wheat. Wheat has been found in some brands of ice cream, marinara sauce, potato chips, rice cakes, tortilla wraps, turkey patties and hot dogs, breaded foods, breakfast cereals, candy, crackers, processed meats, salad dressings, sauces, soups, soy sauce and surimi. Always watch out for cross-contamination and hidden source of wheat and wheat derivatives.
High risk countries to travel with wheat allergy
With clear communication food allergies can be effectively managed!
According to experts and allergist the most effective and therefore best way to manage a food allergy is total avoidance. Novel solutions of communication seem to be a proven treatment for food allergies. Our Food Allergy Translate tools are contribution strategies to minimize your risk of accidents.
Reduce your risk dramatically by using our Food Allergy Translate App or Personal Food Allergy Translate Cards to communicate your allergy alert in a foreign language.
Let the food service personnel know of your food allergy in advance. At least they should take extra care in preparing your meal!
Be prepared to communicate your needs in any restaurants. Let the restaurant/catering staff informed for avoiding the potential presence of the nine major allergens.
National Institutes of Health, NIAID Allergy Statistics;
National Report of the Expert Panel on Food Allergy Research, NIH-NIAID 2003;
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), Tree Nut Allergy;
Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004;
Stanford Alliance for Food Allergy Research (SAFAR). California 2013;
Pastorello EA, Farioli L, Conti A: Wheat IgE-mediated food allergy in European patients)