What is the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance?
How many of you have been wondering and have even tried researching the different symptoms for food allergy or food intolerance, hoping to help you understand from what is your child exactly suffering? How many of you have spent many long sleepless nights worrying about him/her? This article is designed to help you understand the main differences that exist between food allergy and food intolerance.
As a comeback topic of our blog our team decided to help all our readers increase their awareness in order to more easily identify whether your child is suffering from food allergy or food intolerance. To those of you who already have a clear vision of that, we provide you with some useful facts and background of knowledge.
Facts: Statistic shows that UK has the highest number of population suffering from food allergies and ranks among the highest on a world basis, which seems to be quite a disturbing fact, especially when the percentages of infants having food allergies ranges between 5 % and 7 % (Allergy Statistics, n.d.).
Causes: The main triggers of food allergies are caused by certain protein components, which are referred to as ‘’the big eight’’.
If your child is respectively allergic to – soy milk, milk, shellfish, peanuts, eggs, wheat, fish, and tree nuts (Dworkin-McDaniel, n.d), the symptoms that would follow would be:
- Red skin rashes;
- Itching inside the ears, mouth, and throat;
- Experiencing difficulties in breathing;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Swelling of ears, lips, tongue, and face;
(How to Spot a Food Allergy or Intolerance,n.d.).
All these should be signs of worry that your baby is allergic to the food that he/she has been eating or basically to ‘’the big eight’’ since 90% of the food allergies result from them.
If you are still curious to know what causes the appearance of food allergies we have provided you with 4 reasons, which need to be kept in mind:
- Imperfect immune system;
- The type of food consumed while in the early stages of growth. One may be stricken by the fact that the way of chewing the consumed food is a detrimental predisposition to a food allergy. Therefore, make sure to chew slowly and to avoid the intake of any fluid during one’s meals in order to stay healthy and to avoid any appearance of any digestive problems;
- Imperfections of the surrounding environment, i.e. pollution, food additives, and medication provided in case of an illness can affect the well – being of a child to an extent that its immune system can be damaged. Thus, it would become easily susceptible to food allergies;
- Inherent allergies on behalf of one or both of the parents results respectively in 30% or 60% chance for your child of obtaining an allergy (Dworkin-McDaniel, n.d.);
Therefore, our advice would be to carefully pick up the ingredients for preparing a proper meal for your child because if it is not allergic it may be intolerant to it. Here raises the question of what exactly is food intolerance?
Food intolerance is a much more often experienced body reaction, proven by the fact that around 45% of the UK population is its ‘’victim’’. However, the reaction from it is quite mild in comparison to that of food allergies.
- Abdominal pain
- Headache and migraine
- Weight loss
(How to Spot a Food Allergy or Intolerance, n.d.).
These symptoms appear later or after an indefinite period of time after food consumption, but the intolerance can last from hours to even days.
Turn to the help of a specialist, who can advise you on a suitable and healthy diet for your child. Although in UK there are very few allergy specialists it is necessary that an action is taken as soon as possible for the well –being of your baby. The new diet plan would mean that your entire family’s food habits need to be changed. However, the biggest challenge would be the adaption of your child’s food needs to what the surrounding environment has to offer. Therefore, try to make your child feel as comfortable as possible. (How to Spot a Food Allergy of Intolerance, (n.d.).
DD hopes to have contributed to raising your awareness and improving your knowledge on food allergies and food intolerance! Below you can see the reference used in conducting our research and some useful bibliography, i.e. websites, that can further extend your knowledge.
DD Team ®
Allergy Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://barbfeick.com/vaccinations/allergy/403-statistics.htm
Dworkin-McDaniel, N. (n.d.). Food Allergy Facts. Retrieved from http://www.parents.com/baby/health/allergy/food-allergy-facts/?page=1
How to Spot a Food Allergy or Intolerance. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mindfulmum.co.uk/health/2012/how-to-spot-a-food-allergy-or-intolerance/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-allergy/DS00082/DSECTION=causes ; Mayo Clinic Causes of Food Allergy