Often people confuse coeliac disease, a wheat intolerance with a wheat allergy. And they are talking about two separate things as we will describe below.
People with coeliac conditions need to maintain a gluten-free diet, gluten is commonly found in wheat, and hence they have an intolerance to gluten which is perceived as a wheat intolerance.
The intolerance relates to gluten, a component of wheat and also included in rye, oats, and barley. While diagnosis rates vary from country to country and even region to region, they are typically in the area of 15% of the population. Sometimes wheat intolerance displays itself as an immediate reaction to gluten in the diet with vomiting and nausea coming in a matter of hours after ingesting gluten. At other times the wheat intolerance can be less dramatic, and the coeliac will feel drowsy and have an upset stomach perhaps for 48 hours after ingesting gluten.
Wheat allergy is a different reaction entirely. An allergy to wheat is quite rare and produces a more immediate and dramatic response. It is typical of all immune system reactions, and you would tend to see the difficulty in breathing, coughing, and violent vomiting.
While therefore a wheat intolerance has a less dramatic impact on the person with the coeliac condition they must maintain a gluten-free diet if they are to thrive and lead a healthy life. That is to say that their intolerance extends beyond wheat as gluten causes it.
People with a wheat allergy, having an auto-immune response must take great care in avoiding wheat in their diet. They should also ensure that they explain their condition to colleagues and have any medical treatment they require, which must be administered immediately, to hand. They should also carry a medical bracelet that would explain their condition should an attack be suddenly experienced.
The reaction to wheat often leads to a question of is it a wheat allergy or wheat intolerance, but as you can read the underlying causes and the medical response are different.