With several common symptoms, it’s no surprise that food allergies and food intolerance are frequently confused. Because an allergy can be far more dangerous than an intolerance, identifying an effective food allergy treatment is very important. If Atlanta patients are concerned about their physical reactions after eating certain foods, there are some steps to follow to find the root cause.
How Do I Know if I Have a Food Allergy or Intolerance?
Understanding the causes of a food allergy or intolerance is an important first step in finding the right treatment. When people experience an uncomfortable reaction after eating a specific food, many of them will naturally assume that “an allergy” to the food is responsible. However, food intolerance is far more common than a true allergy, and can affect almost everyone to some degree.
Food allergies are immune system reactions to food types like milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. The immune system believes that a harmless food is a threat, then releases antibodies to protect itself. This response leads to food allergy symptoms that vary in severity. Unfortunately, it only takes trace elements of a food protein (including cooking aromas or smelling the food) to stimulate an immune system response.
In contrast, food intolerance is limited to the digestive system. When certain foods cannot be digested properly, this leads to some uncomfortable symptoms. Thankfully, the response is temporary and fairly mild, with no threat to a person’s life. Some foods that individuals can be sensitive to include dairy, gluten, eggs, wheat and caffeine.
Main Symptoms of a Food Allergy
In our frequently asked questions about food allergy testing, we discuss what an allergist will want to know to make a diagnosis. One of the first things an allergist will ask the patient for is a list of symptoms. Common symptoms of food allergies include:
- Skin rash
- Runny nose
- Breathing difficulties
Main Symptoms of Food Intolerance
Before any symptoms are triggered, intolerance usually requires a significant quantity of food to be consumed – unlike a food allergy. Some of these symptoms include:
- Stomach pains
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
How Can I Treat a Food Allergy or Intolerance?
After an allergist has determined whether you have an allergy or an intolerance, treatment can be found. Food intolerance treatments are usually based on avoidance or replacement, such as drinking lactose-free milk or taking medication to assist digestion. Food allergies are also treated using avoidance and medication, but patients have the added potential to desensitize their immune system to an allergen by choosing oral immunotherapy treatment.
Contact Us for Food Allergy Testing and Treatment
If you are worried about the symptoms you or your child experience from eating certain foods, contact Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center for allergy testing and treatment today. We have convenient offices located in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or make an appointment now.
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