May is Food Allergy Action Month: What are the Signs of a Food Allergy?

Caregivers in Boca Grande FL: May is Food Allergy Action Month: What are the Signs of a Food Allergy?
Caregivers in Boca Grande FL: May is Food Allergy Action Month: What are the Signs of a Food Allergy?

Did you know that it’s possible for adults to develop food allergies later in life? Although most food allergies start when a person is a child, adults can become allergic to foods they have been able to eat in the past. Doctors aren’t sure why that happens, only that it does. Food allergies can be minor, causing only a little discomfort, or they can be very serious and even lead to death. Allergic reactions can put a person’s immune system in crisis and affect organs throughout the body. Some people experience anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death. Because food allergies can occur at any time in life, it’s important for caregivers to be able to recognize the signs of a food allergy.

Food Allergy Signs

The signs of a food allergy usually appear within just a few minutes of eating the offending food to up to two hours later. The symptoms for some are minor and merely uncomfortable, but for others, they can be life threatening. Some of the signs of a food allergy include:

  • Hives.
  • Wheezing.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Itching or tingling in the mouth.
  • Swelling, which may occur in the face, tongue, lips, or other body parts.Digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or nausea.
  • Dizziness.

Signs of Anaphylaxis

When anaphylaxis goes untreated, there is a risk of coma and death. If you or your parent’s caregiver notices the following signs in your parent, it is essential to medical care immediately:

  • The feeling of having a lump in the throat.
  • Swelling in the throat.
  • Fast pulse.
  • Constricted airways.
  • Dizziness, fainting, or feeling lightheaded.
  • Shock accompanied by a drop in blood pressure.

What to Do in Case of Anaphylaxis

If your parent has a known allergy, all caregivers should know what to do in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Your parent’s allergist may have prescribed an epinephrine injector, commonly called an epi-pen. If your parent has an epi-pen, caregivers should remind them to take it along everywhere they go. Caregivers should also be aware of how the device works. Many manufacturers offer video instructions on their websites. Your parent’s doctor can also teach you how to use the injector. Always follow up the use of epinephrine with a phone call to 911 as more care may be needed.

Epinephrine does expire, so be sure to check the expiration date of your parent’s injector frequently and request a new one before the date. If the expiration of your parent’s epinephrine goes unnoticed and they have an anaphylactic reaction, most allergists say to use the injector anyway and then call 911.


If you or an aging loved-one care considering hiring caregivers in Boca Grande, FL, talk to the friendly staff at Help at Home Healthcare.

Sarasota, Florida
(941) 388-3117

Bradenton, Florida
(941) 795-7000

Naples, FL 34102

Joyce Berk, RN, BSN, MSN

Administrator at Help at Home Homecare
Joyce Berk, RN, BSN, MSN has over 30 years of experience in health care administration, with 26 years dedicated to clinical and financial oversight of various home health organizations, including Medicare, hospice and private operations. After beginning her home health career with private home health care in Sarasota, Joyce served as Vice President and the Chief Operations Officer for a multi-site, multi-state, Medicare and Private home health organization in regions of the US. She then became Vice President of Clinical Operations of one of the country’s largest hospice operations located in the Tampa area. Prior to leading Help At Home’s private initiative, Joyce initiated multi-site start-up home care operations, ensuring regulatory compliance and licensure, with a strong focus on customer service. Most recently, she held the position of Chief Compliance Officer with concentration on quality improvement of a large Florida based Medicare multi-site organization.

Joyce received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ohio State University and her Master’s in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. There, she a assumed a faculty and administrative role and later received Hospice Administrator Certification. Her educational background, years of broad-based home care leadership with emphasis on continual improvement and customer service qualifies her to lead Help At Home Homecare in becoming an exceptional provider of private home care services in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties.

Joyce lives in Sarasota with her husband, has three grown daughters and seven grandchildren.