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What Foods Cause Hives?

What Foods Cause Hives? What Foods Cause Hives? What Foods Cause Hives?

Hives are welts that may appear anywhere on the body as part of an allergic reaction. They are itchy and elevated, and can appear and disappear for no reason, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Hives can have several triggers, such as heat, metals and certain foods. People with food allergies are at greater risk for developing hives. The most common foods that cause hives are tree nuts, shellfish, dairy, chocolate, tomatoes, berries and eggs. Talk to an allergist about participating in allergy tests to determine the exact cause of your hives.

Tree Nuts

A tree nut allergy is very common among adults and children. The proteins found in tree nuts cause an allergic reaction, leading to hives. When someone with a tree nut allergy ingests proteins from nuts, his immune system attacks the protein, releasing antibodies and other chemicals that cause a reaction in the skin. Tree nut proteins can be found in unlikely food products, such as cereals, candy and lunch meat, according to the Food Allergy Imitative. The FDA requires all food manufacturers to disclose any highly allergic foods, such as nuts, that their products may contain.


Shellfish are another common allergen that may cause hives. Shellfish are any seafood that lives in a shell, such as shrimp, crab or lobster. Along with hives, a shellfish allergy will produce symptoms such as wheezing and nasal congestion, lip swelling, dizziness, fainting, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and tingling in the mouth, according to In rare cases, a shellfish allergy may lead to anaphylactic shock, which is when the entire body has an allergic reaction; this could lead to death. The only way to prevent hives from shellfish is to avoid this food all together. If allergic reactions are minor, over-the-counter antihistamines may help reduce hives and other symptoms.


A dairy allergy that causes hives is specific to cow's milk and not other types, such as goat's milk or soy milk. A dairy allergy is different from lactose intolerance, and the two are commonly confused. Lactose intolerance is the inability of the body to produce the proper enzymes to break down certain sugars found in milk. A dairy allergy is a hypersensitivity to proteins found in cow's milk. According to the Cleveland Clinic, aside from hives, a dairy allergy may produce symptoms such as eczema, itching, dizziness, abdominal pain, chest tightness, tingling in the tongue, lips or throat, fainting or shortness of breath.

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