What Is A Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an exaggerated immune response triggered by a particular food. While many people suffer from food intolerances, a true food allergy is becoming more and more prevalent. A food allergy usually begins in childhood, but can come about at any age. Most common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shell fish. The food intolerance (like lactose intolerance) or food sensitivity (like gluten sensitivity) can be very uncomfortable, but is not considered to be among the true food allergies. A true food allergy can trigger potentially life threatening allergic reactions and must be addressed promptly and seriously.
Some of the symptoms of a food allergy often present like the symptoms of food intolerance. For example, a milk allergy, like any true food allergy, may present with abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, itchy nose or eyes, hives, swelling or even difficulty breathing. Patients who suffer from lactose intolerance are unable to produce the enzyme lactase, and may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, cramps, etc). Yet while patients with lactose intolerance can tolerate lactose-free dairy products, the patients with a true milk protein allergy can develop a serious allergic reaction from any form of dairy products.
The allergy skin tests offered at the Center for Asthma & Allergy can help identify these differences and can resolve your allergy dilemma.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a food allergy or just a food intolerance, come see Dr. Shah at The Center for Asthma & Allergy in Shirley, Long Island, New York. We have proudly served Suffolk County and all of Long Island for over a decade. Please contact Dr. Shah’s office at (631) 395-5464 for a consultation to discuss all of your symptoms with our world class allergy & asthma specialist.