6 Food Allergy Myths
We are new to food allergies in our family. Last year I found that I had an intolerance to gluten and have been eating gluten-free for a year and feeling so much better. The last week of December 2012 we found out that our grandson (4 1/2 yrs old) is allergic to dairy and is intolerant to many other foods which we are eliminating from his diet and getting further advice from his naturopath. I thought I’d share with you what I can so that if your child is experiencing any symptoms of a food allergy you can be aware of what to do. I thought I would also share the 5 most common food allergies. Click on these links to read more on that information specifically. BUT, Today I thought I’d talk to you about Food Allergy Myths.
Food Allergy Myth #1:
You don’t need to go to the doctor if you simply avoid the food you are allergic to.
Answer: Unless you are a physician or health care provider you are likely to make a wrong assessment of what food your child may be allergic to and could make their condition worse. You also may be confusing a food allergy with a digestive disorder. To keep from making a wrong assessment for your child you really need to have a medical professional do specific testing whether it be a skin prick test or blood antibody analysis to give you a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
Food Allergy Myth #2:
You are allergic to all foods that make you sick.
Answer: An example to refute this is that being lactose intolerant is not being allergic to dairy. It is your body having difficulty digesting the sugars in the milk, and now there is lactose free milk products you can purchase. Those who are truly allergic to milk and its products including whey and casein will have an immune response that could be life threatening.
Food Allergy Myth #3:
Food allergies start as a child and get better as you get older.
Answer: Many children outgrow their food allergies and some don’t. Some allergies get better only to return in later life. It is very dangerous to simply think that your child will outgrow his allergy. There is no set pattern for how your body will respond to the food that produces an allergen. Adults can become intolerant or allergic to foods.
Food Allergy Myth #4:
I can eat some of what I am allergic to so long as it is not too much.
Answer: If you have a food allergy, you will have to avoid that food completely. An allergic reaction can produce an instant, life-threatening event. If you have an intolerance or sensitivity to a food, then eating it can make you sick or cause problems later in the day or week. There is a difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance or sensitivity and only your health care provider can show you which you have.
Food Allergy Myth #5:
If I don’t have to go to the hospital then it is not a food allergy.
Answer: Not all food allergies are life-threatening, they just make you uncomfortable or sick when you eat them. Just because your life isn’t in danger doesn’t mean you should not get treatment for minor allergies. Besides who is to say what is minor? Rashes and other symptoms need treatment as well as a diagnosis. With proper diagnosis you will know what to avoid and what to watch for if your food allergy does become more severe over time.
Food Allergy Myth #6:
A lot of people have food allergies.
Answer: Many people are intolerant to certain foods but only a small percentage of people have true allergies to food. While intolerance can cause problems with absorption of nutrients and cause physical symptoms, only testing by a physician or medical professional can determine if the food problem is a true allergy or an intolerance or sensitivity. Also intolerance to foods can cause severe damage to your body just the same as a food allergy can. So regardless, treatment is needed for both intolerance and allergy to foods.
Avoid the Food Allergy Myth and get evaluated if you suspect you have a food allergy.