I find that many people are confused about wheat allergies. A true wheat allergy means being allergic to at least one of the proteins found in wheat:
* Glutenin (gluten)
Allergic reactions are most commonly caused by one of the first two listed. Wheat allergies usually develop when the person is a baby or toddler and are commonly outgrown by age five. That said, adults can have wheat allergy.
The symptoms of a wheat allergy are the common symptoms associated with other food allergies. These symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, hives, eczema, itchy skin, throat irritation and anaphylaxis. I remember speaking to a mother whose 7 year old would have an anaphylactic reaction when she boiled pasta! Those wheat proteins became airborne and triggered a reaction when her child took a breath. Some people do experience a reaction when inhaling wheat or wheat flour. Others need to actually eat it.
Barley, oats and rye also contain some of the proteins found in wheat. Depending upon which proteins are causing the wheat allergy, these other grains may need to be avoided as well.
People often confuse wheat allergy with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a serious digestive disorder. People with celiac must avoid all gluten as it causes damage to the intestines. Those with a wheat allergy must avoid all foods containing wheat (which may include all purpose flour, beer, gravy, malted milk, MSG, and worcestershire sauce). Wheat allergic people should always carry an EpiPen® as well.