You’ve just finished dinner, and there it is: A twinge in your mouth or itchiness along your face.\nAn estimated 4 to 6 percent of children and 4 percent of adults suffer from food allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And allergic reactions to food can be swift \u2014 symptoms can appear at any age, even after eating foods you’ve previously had no problem consuming.\nWhat Is A Food Allergy?\nFood allergies occur when the immune system mistakes a particular food or ingredient as a harmful substance.\nExposure to these foods \u2014 or allergens \u2014 sparks your body’s natural defense mechanisms, triggering a series of symptoms that range from uncomfortable to life-threatening.\nWhile food allergies and reactions can vary, some common foods are much more likely than others to bring on an allergic reaction.\nLearn more about 5 of the most common food allergies. Click To Tweet\nCommon Food Allergies\n1. Peanut Allergy\nPeanuts are among the most common food allergens \u2014 and the number of people who report suffering from peanut allergies is on the rise.\nPeanut allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. When exposed to peanuts, some may experience an acute, life-threatening reaction called “anaphylaxis.” Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:\n\nTrouble breathing and swallowing\nSwelling of the lips, tongue, and throat\nVomiting\nDizziness\n\n2. Milk Allergy\nReactions to a milk allergy can range from uncomfortable hives to serious anaphylaxis. Keep in mind, a milk allergy is different from lactose intolerance.\n\nA milk allergy is an overreaction of the immune system after drinking milk.\nLactose intolerance, however, occurs when the body has difficulty digesting dairy foods, resulting in symptoms like nausea, gas, and bloating. This reaction does not involve the immune system.\n\nInfants and young children are most likely to develop an allergy to milk \u2014 and they’re also likely to outgrow the allergy later in life.\n3. Shellfish Allergy\nPeople who suffer from a shellfish allergy should avoid eating marine animals with shells, including shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, and oysters.\nShellfish allergy symptoms typically emerge within a few minutes of eating a shellfish. They can range from mild stuffiness to a severe anaphylaxis.\n4. Soy Allergy\nSoybeans are a common ingredient in many processed foods. Though soy allergy symptoms tend to be mild in nature, anaphylaxis can occur. People suffering from this allergy should always consult food labels to identify harmful ingredients.\nSoy is a member of the legume plant family, which includes peanuts, lentils, and peas. People who have a food allergy to soy are not necessarily allergic to other legumes.\n5. Tree Nut Allergy\nTree nuts include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios.\nPeanuts, which are legumes, are not a part of this group. Many doctors, however, recommend that those who are allergic to tree nuts avoid peanuts as well, as these two foods can sometimes come in contact during the food manufacturing process.\nDo You Have a Food Allergy?\nOnly a doctor can diagnose a food allergy. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your health care provider.\nOnce diagnosed, your doctor can recommend a treatment plan and diet adjustments to treat your food allergy. Learn more about food allergy testing at the UPMC Sino-Nasal Disorders and Allergy Center website.