What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Cheese?

Signs of an allergic reaction to cheese may include hives.
Cheese wheels aging on shelves.
Slice of havarti cheese.
EpiPens are used in the treatment of severe allergic reactions.
Article Details
  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Images By: Marilyn Barbone, n/a, n/a, Greg Friese
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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With such a large variety of foods on the planet, a wide variety of allergic reactions can also occur. Having an allergic reaction to cheese is an offshoot of general dairy allergies, and affects a small percentage of the population. While some cases are worse than others, any time an individual experiences an allergic reaction to cheese, he should quickly seek medical help. Otherwise, there is the potential for major complications and even death in serious cases. Some of the most common signs of an allergic reaction include anaphylaxis, skin rash, stomach issues and an itching sensation in the mouth and eyes.

Anaphylaxis is perhaps the most visible and dangerous sign of an allergic reaction to cheese. When this occurs, the individual usually experiences reduced blood pressure and a swelling of the throat. When this constriction of the throat occurs, breathing becomes difficult, which is extremely dangerous. Without receiving medical attention, a person can actually die from anaphylactic shock.

Skin rash is another symptom that isn't as serious as anaphylaxis, but is nonetheless uncomfortable. This can manifest itself in different ways, but hives or eczema most commonly appear in random spots on the body. They usually become red and dry out the skin, which often leads to flaking. In turn, these skin rashes become itchy, which leads to the individual scratching them. When this happens, it sometimes causes an infection, creating additional problems requiring medical attention.

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Along with these symptoms, there are a variety of stomach issues that can occur from an allergic reaction to cheese. The most benign symptom is simply an upset stomach that lasts for a few hours. While this isn't overly serious, it can sometimes lead to further complications. More severe symptoms include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

This can be problematic because individuals experiencing diarrhea, nausea and vomiting as a result of an allergic reaction to cheese can end up losing substantial fluids. In turn, dehydration can occur which wreaks havoc on the body's overall functioning. If this is the case, it's important for the person to consume extra water or other fluids in order to replenish the body.

In addition, an itchy feeling in both the mouth and eyes is fairly common with a cheese allergy. Sometimes the throat and upper part of a person's mouth becomes swollen and inflamed, which creates the itchy sensation. In some cases, the eyes also experience an itchy feeling, which is very uncomfortable. Taking an antihistamine sometimes helps alleviate the problem in mild cases, but more serious cases usually require medical attention.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 3

I'm allergic to all dairy, including cheese. When I eat cheese, I develop a rash all over my face and I also get a slight fever. Sometimes I also get diarrhea, depending on how much I eat.

I try and avoid milk products completely but sometimes I accidentally eat it in baked goods and crackers.

discographer
Post 2

@ZipLine-- Itching and swelling are definitely symptoms of an allergy, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you are allergic to all kinds of cheese or that you are allergic to lactose. You should avoid cheese until you get an allergy test, but you might just be allergic to something in that particular cheese.

I have a lactose allergy and I can actually eat many cheeses without problems because lactose in cheese is much less than in milk.

But it's not a good idea to take chances with allergies. You might have had a mild reaction now, but you don't know if you will have a severe reaction or not next time. So avoid cheese until you're sure what you're allergic to.

ZipLine
Post 1

After I eat cheese, my mouth and lips become itchy and my lower lip becomes a little swollen/inflamed. Does this mean that I'm allergic to cheese and lactose?

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