When patients have an adverse reaction to a food item, they usually refer to their symptoms as a food allergy. While this condition is common, it is also possible they are experiencing food intolerance. A visit to an allergist for allergy testing will clear up any confusion and ensure you stay safe. As you make an appointment, learn more below about the difference.
A true food allergy causes severe adverse effects to the body’s immune system. Ingesting even a small amount of the trigger ingredient can lead to a life-threatening condition. Common culprits include peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. However, it’s possible to be allergic to nearly any item.
Symptoms like hives, tongue swelling, and wheezing can occur in a matter of minutes. It is also possible to experience dizziness, vomiting, and fainting. The gravest possibility is anaphylaxis. Patients experiencing this condition need immediate medical treatment. Signs include difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, and an extreme drop in blood pressure. Victims may go into shock or lose consciousness.
In contrast, food intolerance can be controlled by eating small amounts of the item. Supplements or medications also aid in digestion. For example, children and adults who are intolerant to milk can drink a lactose-free beverage or consume lactose enzyme pills when they want to enjoy breakfast cereal or ice cream.
Typical offenders include wine, chocolate, and food additives. Symptoms may include nausea, indigestion, and diarrhea. It’s also possible to experience fatigue, irritability, and vomiting.
Allergy Testing Process
If you experience any of the above symptoms after eating a meal or snack, it’s essential to receive allergy testing. The process will determine whether you have an allergy or intolerance. First, you will have a consultation with a skilled allergist. They will talk with you about your experience and medical history and decide if you need a skin or blood test.
During a skin test, your doctor will use a fine needle to drop a small sample of one or more allergens into your back or arm. If redness or swelling occurs, you may be allergic to the substance. The blood test will take a sample from your arm to be sent to a laboratory for evaluation. It may take a few days to receive results.
Talk to a trusted practitioner about which procedure is right for you. Allergy and Asthma Specialty Center/Masood Ahmad, M.D. in West Chester, OH, tests for and treats a variety of conditions, including perennial allergies, seasonal allergies, food allergies, and rhinitis. To make an appointment for allergy testing, call their office at (513) 777-7097. Get to know Dr. Ahmad and his staff by visiting their website.