What is a food allergy?
A food allergy; is an immune system response. It is caused when the body mistakes an ingredient in food — usually a protein — as harmful and creates a defence system (antibodies) to fight it. An allergic reaction occurs when the antibodies are battling an “invading” food protein. The most common food allergies are shellfish, nuts, fish, eggs, peanuts, gluten and milk.
What are the symptoms of a food allergy?
Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person. Symptoms of a food allergy may include:
- Rash or hives
- Cramping stomach pain
- Itchy skin
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the airways to the lungs
How can you tell the difference between an allergy and intolerance to food?
Food allergies can be triggered by even a small amount of the food and occur every time the food is consumed. People with food allergies are generally advised to avoid the offending foods completely. On the other hand, food intolerances often are dose related; people with food intolerance may not have symptoms unless they eat a large portion of the food or eat the food frequently. For example, a person with lactose intolerance may be able to drink milk in coffee or a single glass of milk, but becomes sick if he or she drinks several glasses of milk.
The clinic supplies an Ige test for food allergies to be sent to a laboratory.
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