How are they different?
What is it? According to FAAN, a food allergy is when the immune system mistakes a certain food as harmful and creates antibodies to said food. Next time the food is eaten the immune system releases histamines and other chemicals that cause the “allergic” reaction. How it manifests: Common symptoms can be related to the gastrointestinal system (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), respiratory system (sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy throat or nose, shortness of breath) or skin (swelling, itching or hives). Just being in the presence of the allergen can be life threatening and trigger anaphylaxis. This is the most dangerous combination of symptoms that in severe cases could cause swelling of the throat or tongue, shortness of breath that can be fatal without immediate attention and epinephrine. Time-lapse: In most cases food allergies “disappear” with adulthood. Except for some resistant ones like allergy to nuts.
What is it? a food intolerance is a negative reaction, often delayed, to a food, beverage, food additive, or compound found in foods that produces symptoms in one or more body organs and systems, but it is not a true food allergy. A true food allergy requires the presence of antibodies against the food, and food intolerance does not. How it manifests: The most common reactions to food intolerances involve the digestive system (diarrhea, bloating or nausea) and headaches. However, many times the known symptoms for food allergies may also be present (on a different scale) in food intolerances, which contributes to the confusion and misdiagnosis between these two conditions. Time-lapse: they usually manifest with age.
How do I know if I have one of these conditions?
Consult an expert, like Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care, who specializes in allergy, asthma & immunology and will be able to perform the most up-to-date testing in order to pinpoint your condition. Once the proper diagnosis has been made, our board certified doctors will give you an action plan to properly manage or get rid of your condition. Understanding and correctly treating these conditions will make your life much more enjoyable. If you suspect your child or yourself to be suffering from food allergies or food intolerances, do not hesitate to reach out to any of our 16 locations throughout the South Florida area. Let Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care help you… Breathe Easy Once Again !
P.S. Have you ever heard of the word Eatocracy? Recent studies show that 35% of school aged kids diagnosed with food allergies are bullied or teased, according to the journal of the ACAAI. More on this later…