Dec 12, 2017
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Food Allergies and Intolerances

Many people have allergies or intolerances to food. Food intolerances are rarely life-threatening but food allergies can be. Food allergies are complex and can be outgrown or can develop later in life after eating a certain food safely for years. Scientists estimate that 11 million Americans suffer from true food allergies. Those with severe food allergies should avoid all foods containing the allergen due to a possible fatal response to the food. There are 8 foods that are the most common and most severe food allergies.

  1. Food Intolerances
    a. Defined as a food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system.
    b. Examples include lactose intolerance. When a lactose-intolerant person drinks milk, they have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
    c. Food intolerances are generally uncomfortable but rarely if ever fatal.
    d. You can grow out of food intolerances or develop them later in life.
  2. Food Allergies
    a. Defined as an immune system response to a food the body mistakenly believes is harmful
    b. The immune system creates antibodies to the food when it is eaten
    c. When the food is eaten again the body releases chemical including histamine the protect the body
    d. Symptoms usually occur within minutes and up to two hours after the person has eaten the food that he/she is allergic to.
    e. Allergic reactions to food can be fatal if the allergy is very severe.
    f. You can grow out of food allergies or develop them later in life
    g. Allergies can be diagnosed by a blood or skin prick test
  3. Symptoms of food allergies may include
    a. tingling in mouth or tongue, swelling of tongue or throat
    b. difficulty breathing
    c. hives
    d. vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea
    e. drop in blood pressure
    f. loss of consciousness or death

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