Logo: If your food making you ill?

Do you have a Food Intolerance or Food Allergy?

What is a Food Allergy

Classic allergies relate to cases where the adverse reaction is very quick and often violent and severe.  It tends to occur within the hour, known as immediate onset.  Once you become sensitised to the food or allergen, as soon as you are exposed to it again your immune system will react within minutes and the severity can range from mild sneezing through to anaphylactic shock.  

The best known food allergy is a Nut allergy and it follows the ingestion of nuts and can often be very severe, even causing anaphylactic shock, which can result in constriction to the airways and / or breathing and / or circulation problems.  If a person starts to have anaphylactic shock medical treatment must be sought immediately as this maybe life threatening.

People with these severe reactions to food usually remember the food initially that gave them an itchy tongue, as the reaction is immediate.  Then the next time they inadvertently eat the same food their throat may itch.  If this same food is eaten again it may be necessary to call an ambulance as breathing may be difficult.  It is best for people with this very adverse reaction to consult their doctor and to be prescribed an EpiPen.  This contains an antidote of adrenaline which will need to be injected at the first onset of any allergic symptoms.

Peanuts and some other nuts are well known for causing allergic reactions in susceptible people, but in the last few years, reactions to other foods are becoming more common.  Examples of these foods are: Kiwri, apples, plums, peaches, pears, strawberries, oranges and shellfish.

Local allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is more a reaction like hay fever, asthma or food allergy and affects parts of the body like chest, skin or the nose etc.

What is Food Intolerance

Food Intolerance is not life threatening, but the symptoms can be very severe and greatly effect the sufferer's quality of life.  It is fairly well agreed that food intolerance is responsible for the majority of adverse reactions to food.  These symptoms caused by food intolerance rarely occurs immediately after eating the offending food.  They can come on several minutes, hours or even several days later.  This is why detecting the potential offending substance is very difficult for the individual and I can help sort this out.

The foods involved are nearly always ones that are consumed frequently, so they tend to be staple foods e.g. cows milk which is an ingredient in bread, tea, coffee, chocolate and hidden in so many of today's processed foods.  The frequency that foods are consummed for a person to start getting symptoms tends to be 3 or more times daily and the type of food(s) that someone is sensitive to varies from person to person.

In order to loose a food intolerance it is necessary that a person avoids that food strictly for three months.  They can eventually cope with the food when they have not eaten it for long enough.  Once their body has not had contact with a food for a while it stops seeing it as an enermy and the bad reactions to that food halts.

Foods to which the person is intolerant can change.  Usually the reason for this is that the person has started having another food too frequently.

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