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.
kath g says
Some interesting things there I didn’t know. I thought I had an allergy and now I think it’s a sensitivity, which is a relief. I will still try to avoid it, but now I won’t worry about it as much….knowledge truly is power.
Rosanne (@rosannepm) says
How do you know you are allergic to a food? Do you break out in hives or do you get nausea or diarrhea? I’m confused when someone says a food makes them sick. In what way?
Meg A says
I asked my doctor to perform my allergy tests again, which they did for 50 items, 25 on each arm. Voilà! More food allergies came up! I changed my GP after he kept ignoring my request for allergy testing. He thought I only had seasonal allergies.
Thanks for sharing Meg. Good for you for being pro-active. I hope you are able to get better control of your symptoms now.
Good information. When I was a child, I always said I was allergic to milk. My parents and doctor didn’t believe there was such a thing as food allergies. Even though I never drank milk after leaving my parents’ home, I broke out when I simply carried a milk carton for my husband in the store from the case to the register. I broke out head to toe, itched all over, then my throat swelled up. So I got my proof I am allergic. I was still shocked when the Dr. checked me for food allergies to the 8 most common. I’m allergic to all but 1. There’s nothing like changing your whole life of eating when you’re in your 50’s. People need to read and understand articles like yours because you really never know.
Wow Tawny! Thanks for sharing your experience. I tell you I wouldn’t be around dairy if I were you .. Or I’d get an order to carry an epi-pen. It’s hard being older and having to totally change your diet. But I feel much better.
A lot of great info in this article. I am lucky enough to not have food allergies but I know a lot of people who do. Thanks for this!
Thanks for sharing Janel and yes you are a lucky one with no food allergies 🙂
Ann Cluck says
Lots of great information that I was not aware of. I will be following up with my doctor. Thank you!!
These are all true – and I know my husband and I suffer from different allergies and he definitely has food allergies. I can also see it in our youngest daughter – so i think I just need to always check with the doctor on these, thanks.
With myths, also colds can not be caused by the weather! It is caused by a virus.
Isn’t that the truth! Such an old myth. Thanks for pointing it out michelleelizondo
Diana Hardy DeSmit says
Thank you so much for the tips and information. This is very helpful and it is great to hear what another mother thinks of food allergies.
md kennedy says
The opposite of Food Allergy Myth #3 is true, though: and not just for food. I could rub poison ivy all over me when I was a kid and not have any reaction whatsoever. I wouldn’t dare do that today!
stealmagnolia deals says
I appreciate your informative site. I feel like I’m drifting alone in a sea of allergy. I’ve known for a while I cannot digest milk products and that lactose free does NOT help me. After losing 25 pounds, down to 108 in a few months, I had biospies that show “possible celiac,” colits (not the bad kind) and definitely food allergies. But since my blood tests showed negative in the gluten panel the doc said I don’t have celiac. I argued that another doctor disagreed, so he said I MAY be GI. I’m gluten and dairy free right now but don’t know if it’s just the colitis that is still bothering me. I wish I had a doctor near me that could help me figure out my allergies. Thanks for your blog!
Thank you for finding my blog! I hope I am helping others with helpful healthful information! Your blood tests being negative for gluten only mean you are not celiac. But you could still have terrible gluten intolerance! It sounds like they are working hard to find out your problem.
marylou sakosky says
I really did not know too many foods do not have allergies . I take allergy medicine and i just know mine is like grass and weeds in summer/spring . I sneeze all the time someon mows the lawn but I really seem to not be able to breath when i ate walnuts so i quit so there are alot of tests my doctor said and i am not up to it .. i think i would rather sneeze .;)
Yes if it is allergies to grass and weeds…then if you don’t mind sneezing…
Tracy Robertson says
This is some good information. I also love the plastic bracelets that lable alergies, since the plastic bracelets are in style now.
Yes…I noticed that part right away.
Dianna Thomas says
good points– I have a milk allergy– so as it turns out 4 out 7 kids have milk allergies– we watch for other things as we go along
Yes I’m learning with all the problems my grandson has had!
Susan Baldwin says
Great info. I too have many allergies and intolerances.
Ada Wu says
I am allergic to peanuts and unfortunately have been for all my life. I did not outgrow it so hence have to continue to be very careful in what I eat.
yes..peanut allergies are scary!
jennifer dunkelmann-hon says
I really needed this info thank you very much.
your welcome jennifer
Michelle Tucker says
Thanks for the info. I think it’s highly important that when one is truly allergic to a food that they have this somewhere on their person.
I agree Michelle!
Wendy T says
People absolutely need a bracelet or necklace or some other sort of way to identify any sort of special medical conditions. If you were unable to communicate, it could be invaluable.
I agree Wendy
Michelle F. says
So much good info. Now that my baby is eating solids I am being very careful.
Thanks Michelle for your comments
bianca roman says
LOL at ‘if you don’t go to the hospital, it’s not a food allergy’ that is so wow! I think I’m sensitive to gluten and sometimes milk..when I used to drink milk multiple times a day (even out of the jug!) it’s so weird how your body changes over time!
Thanks for posting these tid-bits!
Bianca thanks for your comments…yes it is strange how the body changes or is it the genetic manipulation of foods that is changing ?
You are the first person I’ve seen to bring up the difference between intolerance and sensitivity vs allergy. Bravo!!!!
Thanks Rosie! I’m sharing as I learn!
juli guthrie says
Great tips as it seems more and more people, especially kids are becoming allergic to things! My oldest is actually sensitive to red food coloring.
Wow…I know red food coloring isn’t good for you…how does she react?
Thank you for some good information. I recently had a son and was a little green as what to look out for.
Anytime is a good time to learn something new
Micaela P says
Thanks for sharing the myths. I always mix up intolerances and allergies, and call them the same things. I won’t do that anymore!