Food Allergies – How to know if it’s a dangerous food allergy – or something else

When you think of food allergies, you might picture someone eating something and immediately gasping for breath and breaking out in hives. But there are less extreme symptoms that can indicate a food allergy; there are also symptoms that are easy to mistake for allergies. In fact, most self-reported food allergies aren’t allergies at all.

A handful of culprits trigger most allergies

Just eight foods are responsible for 90 percent of food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts), and wheat.

Food allergies and intolerances are different things

Some of the symptoms of food intolerances and food allergies are similar, but the differences between the two are critical. A log of the time when people say they are allergic to food, they mean that too much of it gives them a stomachache or they just don’t like it. But it’s very dangerous to confuse an allergy with an intolerance. People with intolerances can still eat the food without serious consequences. But for someone with an allergy, touching, inhaling, or ingesting even a microscopic amount of the allergenic food can be deadly.

Symptoms can vary widely

Food intolerances take place in the digestive system and can cause gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, bloating, cramps, gas, and diarrhea. Chemicals and food additives can cause a wide range of intolerance symptoms in a few susceptible people. For example, chocolate, cheese, and red wine can trigger migraines.

Food allergies, on the other hand, are on overreaction of the immune system. Within minutes or hours after coming into contact with even a trace amount of a food they are allergic to, victims might experience symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea), skin (itching, swelling, or hives), or respiratory system (stuffy, runny, or itchy nose; sneezing, coughing; or wheezing). Or they might have a combination of any of those symptoms, among others.

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