Food allergies seem common but only affect around 4 percent of adult Americans, according to the Mayo Clinic. Food allergies are more common in young children, who often outgrow the allergy by the age of 5. Common food allergens include fish, nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, soy and wheat. Symptoms from a food allergy include gastrointestinal issues, upper respiratory complications and skin reactions. Increased levels of histamine in the blood can cause the inner ear to feel itchy.
If you have a food allergy, you experience an overreaction of the immune system when you consume the allergen. Your body responds to the proteins in the food as if they were harmful, like a virus, according to Kids Health. The immune system produces antibodies and histamine to ward off the allergen. The increased levels of histamine throughout the body cause irritation. Histamine is released in soft tissue, commonly in the sinuses, the throat and the inner ear.
Food allergies affect each person differently but produce similar symptoms. Nasal congestion, eye irritation, throat irritation, cramping, vomiting, nausea, asthma and inner-ear irritation are all common symptoms of a food allergy. The American Academy of Otolaryngology states that allergies can cause excessive swelling in the ear, leading to a secondary ear infection. Even if the inner ear isn't infected, the allergy can lead to a constant itch.
If you experience itchy inner ears from a food allergy, the best treatment is to avoid consuming the foods that cause the allergic reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic. Take an antihistamine to alleviate irritation and itching in the inner ear if you accidentally eat a food that you’re allergic to. An antihistamine blocks the body’s ability to product histamine, which is causing the irritation in the inner ear and elsewhere in the body. If the irritation in the ear develops into an ear infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Chronic itching in the inner ear needs to be tested for confirmation of a food allergy. Allergy testing includes blood and skin tests. Blood is drawn after consuming a potential food allergen. The blood is examined to see whether there are increased immunoglobulin E antibodies present. If there are, you most likely have an allergy to that particular food. Skin tests use small amounts of a specific food protein to see whether the skin reacts.
A food allergy could be life threatening. If you have a food allergy, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you inform coworkers and friends of your allergy and that you wear a medical bracelet noting the allergy.