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Most Common Food Allergies in the Philippines

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Jul 21, 2020

Most Common Food Allergies in the Philippines

Allergies are common conditions that happen because the immune system views certain food or proteins as something harmful. These are easily identifiable if you know what to look for. Here are the typical food allergies in adults and what you can do to avoid allergic reactions. 

What Occurs During an Allergic Reaction?

Severe conditions like anaphylaxis, which implies constricted airways, make breathing difficult, and may require carrying epinephrine to immediately alleviate the swelling of the trachea. This could also come with abdominal pain, heightened pulse rates, and even going into shock.

Managing most food allergies involves seeing a doctor if symptoms can be observed after eating the allergen in question or something that contains the allergen. It is best to seek help immediately while the reaction is still observable to help the diagnosis.

For egg allergies, it is important to seek help regardless of how mild the symptoms are because symptoms could vary from time-to-time for the same person. Treatment may involve the use of antihistamines or epinephrine.

Can Allergies be Prevented?

Allergies, in general, can not really be prevented. However, it is possible for you to gauge how at-risk you are by keeping these risk factors in mind. Young people or those with eczema or a family history of food allergies, asthma, hay fever, or hives are more at risk of having allergies as a whole.

Allergy Skin Tests: How Do Doctors Check for Allergies?

Most Common Food Allergies


The immune system flags certain egg proteins as harmful. This then causes the immune system to release histamines due to antibodies recognizing proteins from the egg yolks or whites as threats.

The diagnosis is often done for children and even breastfed babies. They can react to egg proteins that are present in breastmilk. Luckily, most of them outgrow it as teenagers. 

The symptoms are pretty standard for egg allergies with

  • Skin inflammation
  • Bumpy, red rashes known as hives
  • Commonly accompanied by allergic rhinitis characterized by sneezing, nasal congestion, and runny nose
  • Asthma symptoms like shortness of breath
  • Common digestive symptoms like cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Some symptoms specific to egg allergies are swelling around the mouth and diarrhea.


Milk is another common allergen. However, a milk allergy is completely different from a milk or lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is a reaction brought about by the immune system reacting to milk proteins, while an intolerance involves only the digestive system and its incapacity to process anything with lactose. 

Milk proteins that trigger immunoglobulin E in the situation of a milk allergy are casein or whey . These are the causes of the immune system releasing histamine as a response to the immunoglobulin E neutralizing the allergen.

An incidence rate of over 7% of all babies could develop a milk allergen. But 8 of 10 cases end up being outgrown later on into their development. If your baby shows any of the common allergic symptoms, make sure to consult your doctor before completely cutting out milk from the diet.

Common symptoms that accompany milk allergies:

  • Rashes and hives
  • Itching
  • Tingling in the face
  • Swelling of tongue or throat
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Long-term symptoms like loose stools and diarrhea, abdominal cramps, watery eyes, and colic for babies

To manage milk allergies, make sure to consult the doctor and know that most milk proteins are present in dairy products.

If you are looking through ingredient lists or wondering what may trigger allergies, watch out for whey, casein, anything that starts with lact-, candies, protein powders, artificial flavoring of butter or cheese, and hydrolysates. Labels saying that something is milk-free or non-dairy do not necessarily mean that they are completely devoid of whey and casein.

Lactose Intolerance vs Dairy Allergy


Peanut allergies, one of the more concerning and typical food allergies in adults, are caused by the peanut proteins being perceived as threats by your immune system. These could be triggered by: 

  • Direct contact, like eating peanuts or something that contains peanuts. 
  • Cross-contact, which is unintended exposure to allergens via consumption of food that has been exposed to peanuts, or even inhalation through dust or aerosol that has peanut traces.
  • 80% of children that have peanut allergies will carry this condition into adulthood. On top of this, the severity is on the extreme side, meaning it commonly causes anaphylaxis which will require immediate medical attention.

    Mild cases could involve:

    • Runny noses
    • Shortness of breath
    • Rashes
    • Tingling in or around the mouth and throat

    Managing a peanut allergy involves knowing if you have to be carrying a portable dose of adrenaline as anti-allergy medication to be prepared to counter anaphylactic shock. It is also important to note that a lot of people could be allergic to just peanuts and not all variants of nuts. But it is always safer to just avoid it altogether. The same risk factors as indicated above are applicable for peanut allergies.


    Seafood is a very common allergen as well. In fact, despite being in an archipelagic country, 81% of Filipinos are allergic to seafood. However, it is important to note that not all who are allergic to seafood have the same allergy to specific seafood. For example, some can eat crabs but not shrimp, and vice versa.

    Symptoms can range from mild to severe, covering the entire range of symptoms:

    • Hive
    • Anaphylaxis
    • Swelling or tingling of the lips, mouth, or throat
    • Common digestive symptoms like cramping and diarrhea

    To help manage seafood allergies, it is important to keep a record of triggers and symptoms. Proteins found in certain kinds of seafood could also be present in other kinds, which may trigger allergies going from one type to another. Depending on what your doctor tells you, you can avoid certain kinds and consume others.

    Diagnosis is often done through a skin prick test or a blood test. An elimination diet and food challenge could also be done under medical supervision and this involves cutting out seafood entirely and then trying it under supervision.


    Soy allergies are very similar to milk allergies, and are one of the most common and typical food allergies in adults. Like most allergies, it is caused by the body reacting negatively to soy proteins and it could also come with food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome that could resolve itself over time.

    Soy allergies are common and could be diagnosed from infancy with reactions to soy-based formula and could either be outgrown or carried into adulthood.

    Symptoms are oftentimes mild and similar to most other allergens. Anaphylaxis is rare for soy allergies despite soy being a common allergen.

    Almost half of all manufactured food has soy in them. But since it is often involved with mild allergy cases, you can consult your doctor. They can advise whether you should avoid these products altogether.

    Management is easy because of how common of an allergen it is. Most food containing it have “contains soy’ flagged on the packaging. The risk factors are also the same for soy allergies.

    Key Takeaways

    It is beneficial to know the typical food allergies in adults as to better identify, diagnose and manage these conditions. As long as you identify your allergens and work with your doctor in resolving your issues, allergies are manageable and easy to diagnose as long as you stay informed.

    Learn more about Allergies here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Jul 21, 2020

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