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When someone has an allergy, they can have many different physical reactions when they are exposed to allergens. The type of reaction and the severity of it depends on the individual and the severity of their allergy. Very small amounts of some allergens, such as nuts, can cause severe adverse reactions including potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.

The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

Body part affected Physical reaction
Eyes Sore, red and/or itchy
Nose Runny and/or blocked
Lips Swelling of the lips
Throat Coughing, dry, itchy and swollen throat
Chest Coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath
Gut Nausea and feeling bloated, diarrhoea and/or vomiting
Skin Itchy and/or a rash

When someone has a severe reaction to an allergen, this can lead to faintness and/or the person might collapse.

Find out more

Visit the food allergy and intolerance section of the NHS website: NHS Choices

Advice on food allergen labelling (Download this pdf, 0.34mb)

Food intolerance and coeliac disease – How to avoid certain foods (Download this pdf, 0.62mb)