Oftentimes, any negative reaction to food is assumed to be a food allergy. However, the symptoms of food allergies and food intolerances can actually be very similar, with intolerance more likely to be the cause of any problems. Yet, it is important to understand and recognize the difference between the two. While food intolerance can leave you feeling ill, a food allergy can be life threatening. Read on for a better understanding of how an allergy differs from intolerance.
Food intolerance takes place in the digestive system and occurs when the body is unable to process food. Food intolerances generally come on gradually and may only occur when consuming a large amount of a certain type of food. Food intolerance symptoms can include gas, cramping, bloating, heartburn, or headaches. While uncomfortable, food intolerances are not life-threatening.
Unlike intolerances, a food allergy will typically come on suddenly and can be trigged by just a small amount of food. In the case of an allergy, the reaction will happen consistently, every time the allergen is consumed. Food allergy symptoms can include the development of a rash or hives, shortness of breath, chest pains, trouble breathing or swallowing, or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Depending on the severity of your reaction, a food allergy can be life threatening.
If you have a negative reaction after eating a particular food, see your doctor to discuss whether you have a food intolerance or a food allergy. If you have an allergy, your doctor will help you recognize a severe allergic reaction when it occurs and arm you with the knowledge you need to protect yourself. Alternately, if you have a food intolerance your doctor may be able to treat the underlying condition causing your reaction. In both cases, your doctor will likely recommend avoiding future interaction with the food in question.
Board certified allergists/immunologists comprise the entire physician staff of Allergy & Asthma Specialists. Allergy doctors at this premier medical practice provide comprehensive allergy and asthma diagnostics and state of the art treatment, including two types of immunotherapy, at offices located in center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule today online at http://www.allergyandasthmawellness.com/ or by calling 1-800-86COUGH.
Managing allergy symptoms can be a challenge – particularly if the patient is a child. Nasal allergy symptoms can include a runny or stuffy nose, sinus pressure, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Because these symptoms can be caused by a variety of environmental allergens, small changes in your home environment can help to minimize the severity of symptoms. Help your child manage his or her allergy symptoms with these tips.
Learn Allergy Triggers
In most cases, one of the most effective steps toward managing allergies is to avoid exposure to allergens. With that in mind, spend some time tracking your child’s allergy triggers. Common allergens include dust, pollen, mold, tobacco smoke, and pet dander. Schedule an appointment with an allergy doctor to further hone in on the source of irritation.
Eliminate Dust Mites
Dust mite droppings are one of the most common triggers of year-round allergies. Keep the dust mites in your house at bay by having your air ducts professionally cleaned and dusting regularly. Pay special attention to your child’s room to help him or her breathe a bit easier by stripping the room of dust mite-friendly items. For example, eliminate rugs, carpets, and heavy drapes, opting instead for vinyl or hardwood floors. Make your home further inhospitable to dust mites by keeping your house dry and at a temperature of less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your child is allergic to pollen, using a HEPA room air cleaner during high pollen periods can help to manage allergen exposure. Also, if you have a dog or cat that moves frequently between the indoors and outdoors, they may be collecting pollen in their fur. With that in mind, keep your pet away from your child during allergy season.
Seek Professional Help
In addition to optimizing your child’s home environment, you will also want to talk to his or her allergy doctor about tools for symptom management. For example, your child may benefit from over-the-counter antihistamines, saline nasal rinses, or other prescription solutions.
For assistance in managing your child’s asthma symptoms, contact Allergy & Asthma Specialists. Our experienced and professional staff offers immunotherapy, allergy testing, asthma screening, and more. Call 1-800-86COUGH to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient office locations.