4 Common Myths About Food Allergies

4 Common Myths About Food Allergies

Food allergies affect about 20 million people in the United States. The most common allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat, and tree nuts. Sesame is also a rising food allergy.

Here at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center, we help people in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, as well as Abingdon, Virginia, diagnose and manage their food allergies. 

We find that many people don’t fully understand food allergies. We’re here to help you gain a better understanding of this important health issue. These are four of the most common myths and misconceptions about food allergies — and the real truth about them.

1. A food intolerance is the same as a food allergy

In fact, food allergies and intolerances are distinct conditions. A food allergy develops when your immune system responds to specific compounds in food that are normally safe. Your system reacts with hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or other allergic symptoms.

A food intolerance doesn’t involve your immune system. Instead, you may have trouble processing or digesting certain foods. An intolerance might be due to enzyme deficiencies or other non-immune mechanisms. Symptoms of an intolerance include bloating and abdominal pain. 

2. You’ll notice an allergy immediately after eating a food trigger

In fact, while some allergic reactions can occur right after consuming the trigger food, other reactions may have a delayed onset. It’s possible to experience symptoms hours or days after a meal that included the trigger. 

This makes food allergies difficult to identify, and it’s why you benefit from seeking the help of an allergy specialist. Symptoms that can show up as a delayed response include eczema and chronic inflammation.

3. You will outgrow your food allergy

In fact, some children do outgrow food allergies, including those to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. But not all food allergies disappear as you age. Allergies to tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and peanuts often persist into adulthood. 

Don’t guess that you’ve outgrown an allergy. Work with us to assess your allergy and determine if it has been outgrown. We offer diagnostic tests and medically supervised food challenges. 

4. You only have to worry about food allergies that cause anaphylaxis

In fact, all food allergies should be taken seriously — even if they don’t cause the potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. 

Signs of anaphylaxis include an itchy or raised skin rash, swelling in the eyes and lips, lightheadedness, swelling of the tongue and throat, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Of course, when a food allergy causes anaphylaxis, it is severe and requires diligent management. You’ll carry an epinephrine pen to administer should you come into contact with the trigger food.

If you have symptoms like mild hives or gastrointestinal discomfort, the impact on your quality of life is real. We can help you manage your food allergy, regardless of its perceived severity. 

If you suspect you have a food allergy or need help managing one for a family member, contact Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center today. 

Call our office or send us a message here on our website to book an appointment. We can help you identify triggers and prevent potentially devastating complications. 

Food allergies affect about 20 million people in the United States. The most common allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat, and tree nuts. Sesame is also a rising food allergy.

Here at Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center, we help people in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, as well as Abingdon, Virginia, diagnose and manage their food allergies. 

We find that many people don’t fully understand food allergies. We’re here to help you gain a better understanding of this important health issue. These are four of the most common myths and misconceptions about food allergies — and the real truth about them.

1. A food intolerance is the same as a food allergy

In fact, food allergies and intolerances are distinct conditions. A food allergy develops when your immune system responds to specific compounds in food that are normally safe. Your system reacts with hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or other allergic symptoms.

A food intolerance doesn’t involve your immune system. Instead, you may have trouble processing or digesting certain foods. An intolerance might be due to enzyme deficiencies or other non-immune mechanisms. Symptoms of an intolerance include bloating and abdominal pain. 

2. You’ll notice an allergy immediately after eating a food trigger

In fact, while some allergic reactions can occur right after consuming the trigger food, other reactions may have a delayed onset. It’s possible to experience symptoms hours or days after a meal that included the trigger. 

This makes food allergies difficult to identify, and it’s why you benefit from seeking the help of an allergy specialist. Symptoms that can show up as a delayed response include eczema and chronic inflammation.

3. You will outgrow your food allergy

In fact, some children do outgrow food allergies, including those to milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. But not all food allergies disappear as you age. Allergies to tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and peanuts often persist into adulthood. 

Don’t guess that you’ve outgrown an allergy. Work with us to assess your allergy and determine if it has been outgrown. We offer diagnostic tests and medically supervised food challenges. 

4. You only have to worry about food allergies that cause anaphylaxis

In fact, all food allergies should be taken seriously — even if they don’t cause the potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. 

Signs of anaphylaxis include an itchy or raised skin rash, swelling in the eyes and lips, lightheadedness, swelling of the tongue and throat, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Of course, when a food allergy causes anaphylaxis, it is severe and requires diligent management. You’ll carry an epinephrine pen to administer should you come into contact with the trigger food.

If you have symptoms like mild hives or gastrointestinal discomfort, the impact on your quality of life is real. We can help you manage your food allergy, regardless of its perceived severity. 

If you suspect you have a food allergy or need help managing one for a family member, contact Regional Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center today. 

Call our office or send us a message here on our website to book an appointment. We can help you identify triggers and prevent potentially devastating complications. 

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