MNN Galleries

9 common allergies explained

By: Laura Moss on Jan. 11, 2011, 5:47 a.m.
wheat bread

Photo: jupiterimages

2 of 11


Wheat and foods made with it are staples of the American diet, but some people's immune systems develop antibodies to certain wheat proteins, causing a wheat allergy. An allergic reaction to wheat can cause a variety of symptoms, including nausea, hives and difficulty breathing, and such an allergy can also cause anaphylaxis, a deadly reaction that causes swelling of the throat and airways.

The best treatment for a wheat allergy is simply to avoid consuming foods that contain it. People with this allergy must check ingredient labels before eating anything because many processed foods, including ice cream and ketchup, contain wheat flour.

Wheat allergies are different from celiac disease, which causes intestinal inflammation when a person eats a food that contains gluten, a type of wheat protein.