Did you know that 15 million people are affected by food allergies in the United States? For such a common infliction, not many people are fully informed about the causes and repercussions of food allergies. How do you avoid allergic reactions? What does having a food allergy even mean? Can over-the-counter drugs provide a quick fix? To provide you with the tools to know when to get tested and how to react, we rounded up three of the top food allergy myths below.
Myth #1: Food intolerance is the same as a food allergy
In short, food intolerance involves your digestive system, while food allergies involve your immune system. If drinking milk gives you mild indigestion, you’re probably not allergic. However, if ingesting dairy causes anaphylaxis (a severe reaction which can include difficulty breathing), this could be a life-threatening food allergy.
Myth #2: Avoiding the food you’re allergic to is the best way to stay safe
If you think you might be allergic to a food, your natural inclination may be to skip a trip to the doctor’s office and just steer clear of the allergen. We’ve showed you the costs of self-diagnosing, and in this case, it’s more important than ever. Sometimes, you may be unintentionally exposed to your allergen, which could cause an allergic reaction without you making a conscious decision to eat the food.
Myth #3: If you have an allergic reaction, Benadryl should hold it off
If you have a verified food allergy, over-the-counter medicine should never be used in place of actual medication prescribed by your doctor. Whenever you test positively for a food allergy, you will receive a self-injectable medication known as epinephrine (Epi-Pen). Keeping this with you is the best way to ward off a life-threatening reaction until you can get to a doctor.
It’s important to be aware of your symptoms after eating because they could turn into something more serious down the road, and it’s especially important to stay informed about food allergies. A few of the common food allergy symptoms include: itchy throat, rash, sneezing, watery eyes and nausea. We provide allergy testing at all of our Vista facilities. Visit our testing page to learn about the allergy tests we offer so you can know your allergies for sure.