Common Misconceptions about Food Allergies

There are many misconceptions about food allergies out there. In today’s post, we’ll summarize 3 of the most common misconceptions that we hear.

Food Allergies vs. Intolerances

Food allergies and food intolerances are often confused with each other but they are actually two separate conditions with different underlying causes, symptoms, and treatment. Read more about the differences between food allergies and intolerances here.

Testing for Food Allergies

Another common misconception about food allergies is the belief that testing can definitively confirm or rule out an allergy to a certain food. However, food allergy testing is not always 100% accurate. Sometimes allergy tests don’t identify a food allergy even though the patient appears to have an allergic reaction to that food (this is called a false negative). Other times an allergy test suggests a person is allergic to a food that they actually tolerate (this is called a false positive). Allergy tests can be helpful in giving your doctor clues about which foods are causing problems. However, they are not always completely accurate so doctors use them in addition to their own observations and the reports of the patient or their caregiver when evaluating a patient for a food allergy.

Immediate vs. Delayed Allergic Reactions

Many people assume that an allergic reaction to a food always occurs immediately after consuming it. Someone who experiences delayed allergic reactions to a food may mistakenly believe that their symptoms are unrelated to the food, or that they are caused by the wrong food, since the symptoms don’t occur around the time when the food allergen is consumed. It is important to recognize that delayed allergic reactions to foods can occur many hours after consumption. A diet journal and food allergy testing can help patients and their doctors to identify which food is causing problems.

Are you surprised by any of these misconceptions? What misconceptions about food allergies have you experienced?

Mallory West

Published: 08/05/2014
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