As with any other allergic reaction, the body responds to a cheese allergy by breaking out in hives, vomiting, wheezing and itching, according to HowStuffWorks. It is also common to have a runny nose, watery eyes, diarrhea or abdominal cramping. In the most severe cases, an allergic reaction to cheese can escalate into anaphylactic shock, resulting in the necessary use of an epinephrine injection, according to WebMD.
HowStuffWorks explains that many people with a simple lactose intolerance mistakenly believe they have a cheese allergy. While the food sources are similar, the symptoms are not. Lactose intolerance is isolated to the gut and manifests itself as diarrhea, gas and bloating. It does not progress to the skin or present any serious threats to a person's life.
Allergies are created when the body's natural defense mechanisms attack a foreign substance and release histamines into the blood stream. The casein and whey proteins found in cheese are most likely causes for a person's allergic reaction, according to HowStuffWorks. Some aged cheeses such as Roquefort, Camembert, cheddar, brie and Parmesan contain their own histamines. These histamines are normally broken down in the body by an enzyme called diamine oxidase, so that the body does not react. Some people do not have a lot of diamine oxidase in their bodies, so the histamines present in aged cheese can create an allergic reaction. If these types of cheeses are avoided, the allergy symptoms do not appear.