A Skin Rash on the Hands and Ankles from a Food Allergy

The most common skin rash from a food allergy that can appear on the hands and ankles is hives, according to MedlinePlus. Hives are welts that form within a matter of minutes after someone consumes a food he is allergic to. While hives are considered harmless, if the skin breaks, there is increased risk of secondary skin infections. Hives may also be a sign of a severe allergic reaction that could be life-threatening. If you experience hives when you eat a specific food, see a doctor for evaluation.

Allergy testing in a doctor's office. Credit: ChristiLaLiberte/iStock/Getty Images

Food Allergy Background

Food allergies are most common in children under age 3. Only 4 percent of the adult American population suffers from a genuine food allergy, according to MayoClinic.com. The most common highly-allergic foods include wheat, soy, milk, nuts, eggs and fish. A food allergy occurs when someone's immune system mistakes the proteins in food as a dangerous substance. The immune system attempts to ward off the proteins by creating antibodies and other chemicals that lead to allergy symptoms.

Allergic Rash Symptoms

A rash that develops on the hands and ankles as a result from a food allergy will appear within the first hour after you eat the food, according to MayoClinic.com. Hives can appear and disappear in various shapes an sizes without reason. Hives are not restricted to the hands and ankles and spread to any part of the body. Hives are red or white in color and can burn or sting, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Other Symptoms

If the rash on the hands and ankles is the result of a food allergy, other common food allergy symptoms will also develop. These may include stomach discomfort, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, asthma conditions and tingling in the mouth, according to MedlinePlus. Hives accompanied with dizziness, anxiety, a faint pulse, flushed skin and a drop in blood pressure is alarming. Call 911 for immediate medical attention.


A skin rash on the hands and ankles from a food allergy is treated by identifying and avoiding exposure to the food allergen, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Oral and topical antihistamines are useful to reduce inflammation in the skin and alleviate the itch. In extreme cases, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroid creams to treat the allergic rash.


MedlinePlus recommends seeing a doctor if you experience a whole-body reaction with a skin rash. If you suspect you have a food allergy, make an appointment to see an allergist.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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