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Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a food allergic reaction may occur almost immediately after eating or most often within 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating. Rapid onset and development of potentially life threatening symptoms are characteristic markers of anaphylaxis.

Allergic symptoms may initially appear mild or moderate but can progress very quickly. The most dangerous allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) involve the respiratory system (breathing) and/or cardiovascular system (heart and blood pressure).

Common signs and symptoms

Mild to moderate allergic reaction

  • Hives, welts or body redness -  pdfHives107 KB
    hives man back
     hives man front hives baby

  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyes -  pdfSwelling107.67 KB 
    boy swollen lip tongue

  • Vomiting, abdominal pain (these are signs of a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis in someone with severe insect allergy)

  • Tingling of the mouth

Severe allergic reaction - ANAPHYLAXIS

  • Difficult and/or noisy breathing

  • Swelling of the tongue

  • Swelling or tightness in the throat

  • Difficulty talking and/or hoarse voice

  • Wheeze or persistent cough

  • Persistent dizziness or collapse in its place

  • Pale and floppy (in young children)

If you suspect a food has caused a reaction, avoid that food, talk with your doctor and have it investigated. If you know you have a food allergy, then always avoid that specific food trigger.

If you, your child or someone you care for has a reaction to any food, seek medical advice. If you are worried about a serious reaction, call an ambulance or go directly to hospital.

Think you, or someone you know, may be at risk?

Signs & Symptoms Video

Content updated January 2017


If you are having an allergic reaction follow advice on your ASCIA Action Plan.

If in doubt, give the Anapen® or EpiPen®.

Do not call us for emergency advice.

If you do not have an ASCIA Action Plan and/or an Anapen® or EpiPen® call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.